German Court Blocks Facebook's Efforts to Obtain WhatsApp User Data

A German court has upheld an order requiring Facebook to suspend the import of users' personal data from WhatsApp. Following Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, WhatsApp announced that it would transfer users' personal data to Facebook, violating the company's privacy promises. A Data Protection Commissioner in Germany ordered Facebook to halt the data transfer. This week a German court refused Facebook's attempt to block the order, ruling that Facebook had no legal basis for the transfer and no effective consent from WhatsApp users. The transfer is also under investigation by the Article 29 Working party, a group of European privacy officials. EPIC filed a complaint with the FTC in 2014, backed by over a dozen US consumer groups, urging the US agency to block the acquisition of WhatsApp if privacy safeguards were not established. As EPIC explained, "WhatsApp built a user base based on its commitment not to collect user data for advertising revenue. Acting in reliance on WhatsApp representations, Internet users provided detailed personal information to the company including private text to close friends."


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