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Facebook Sanctioned by Germany for WhatsApp Data Collection

Another day, another breach of user privacy by Facebook. In 2014, the social media giant bought the messaging application WhatsApp for close to $20 billion. When the deal was made, users were assured that WhatsApp wouldn’t start implementing intrusive data sharing. Now, two years later, it’s obvious that that wasn’t entirely true.

Germany vs. Facebook and Whatsapp

German authorities ordered Facebook to stop collecting the WhatsApp data of German citizens. Facebook should also erase all information that was already collected.

Last month, Facebook announced that WhatsApp is going to start sharing the personal data of its 1 billion strong user-base. There was a half-option for not sharing that data. Users could opt out of data collections aimed at advertisers, but there was no way to avoid the information sharing to Facebook. Their data was collected either way.

Germany’s Commission for Data Protection and Freedom of Information decided that the data collection through WhatsApp wasn’t approved by its users. Thus, Facebook’s activities didn’t have a legal basis to collect the data of German users. The messaging app has 35 million users in the country. The information gathered from the app includes the users’ phone numbers. The case was reported by The Guardian.

Facebook And Privacy

At this point, breaches of user privacy have become synonymous with Facebook. The social media giant has more than 1.5 billion active users. A large portion of Earth population uses the network. When Facebook breaches privacy laws, it’s a bigger deal than if someone else did it.

The information collected by Facebook is used for advertising purposes. There’s nothing nefarious in promoting businesses, but the databases created by social media sites like Facebook can fall into the wrong hands. Insane data collection is dangerous because there’s no telling what the future hides. These databases can fall into the wrong hands, which can be very dangerous. The German government is right to be concerned with the data collection.

Alex Dimchev

Alex Dimchev is a beat writer for Best Security Search. When he's not busy researching cyber-security matters, he enjoys sports and writing about himself in third person.