Facebook Escapes EU ban on its Use of Whatsapp Data

July 16, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Facebook  dodges  EU ban on its use of Whatsapp customer data, but has to face increased scrutiny in terms of the legality of data sharing in relation to the controversial Whatsapp policy Update.

The Facebook owned messaging app’s new updates are being termed as a ‘threat’ to user privacy, security and integrity. Many consumer rights campaigners earlier this week also filed a complaint against Whatsapp over its alleged roll out of a policy that remains incomprehensible and “opaque”  in terms of what type of data Whatsapp will collect and how it will be shared. 

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), a panel of European Union authorities, on Thursday announced that there should be an examination of Facebook practices linked to Whatsapp data. It also urged the investigations to be done “as a matter of priority” by Irish privacy watchdog the Irish Data Protection Commission.

Whatsapp announced its new privacy policy earlier this year in the month of January. However, they had to delay these updates until May due to huge privacy backlash.

In Thursday’s decision, EDPB halted the imposition of provincial EU-wide ban on data access as per the request of Hamburg data privacy commissioner.

Earlier this year in the month of May, the German authorities imposed a three-month ban on Facebook to stop it from collecting German users’ data from its Whatsapp unit, and demanded EU regulators to take a bloc-wide decision.

 Facebook dodges EU ban , but the EDPB has also ordered Irish Data Protection Commission  to “swiftly” carry out its investigations into Facebook-Whatsapp data sharing.

The Irish Data Protection Commission has already done an in-depth inquiry into Whatsapp’s privacy policy in terms of its transparency in data storage and transference. But has difficulties in winning support of all the European watchdogs. 

The commission has 28 probes open into Silicon Valley giants including Google and Apple Inc etc which all have their EU base present in Ireland. Facebook actually accounts for nine of these investigations including its Whats app and Instagram businesses.