Facebook Stops WhatsApp Data Collection in the UK

The WhatsApp privacy saga continues. Following the merger with Facebook, the messaging app made some troubling changes to its policy the most controversial of which was the data sharing between the two companies. After numerous demands from the authorities, Facebook has paused the data sharing in the UK.

Facebook, WhatsApp, The EU, and The Collection of Private data

The data sharing between WhatsApp and their parent company has raised more than a few eyebrows. The collection of information is often deemed unethical and intrusive. Germany sanctioned Facebook for the WhatsApp data collection, which had little to no result.

There was also a warning by Article 29 . Recently, there was a turning point. The UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham demanded of Facebook to cease the data sharing. She writes:

“I had concerns that consumers weren’t being properly protected, and it’s fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven’t changed that view. I don’t think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don’t think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information.”

Surprisingly, Facebook agreed and paused the data collection on the UK users of WhatsApp.

Facebook and Data Mergers

Advertising giants like Facebook often buyout smaller firms simply for their data-collecting value. The WhatsApp merger is very controversial because the messaging app didn’t collect that much advertising data before. Facebook also promised to not get information from WhatsApp, a promise that was broken in August 2016.

Before the Facebook buyout, WhatsApp was probably the most privacy-conscious mainstream messaging app out there. As you can see, that’s no longer the case. The problem put forward by most privacy watchdogs is that Facebook doesn’t notify the WhatsApp user base properly. The app has a temporary opt-out for the data collection, but it’s still not enough to ensure privacy.

Facebook’s main goal is to collect as much private data as they can. This data is then used for advertising purposes. This is why Facebook is so resistant to the demands of privacy watchdogs. More user privacy means less money from advertising. It’s the cold truth behind the invasion of privacy seen by almost all big name organizations on the web. While the WhatsApp data collection in the UK may be discontinued for the moment, it’ll likely resume after Facebook reaches an agreement with the UK authorities.

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Author : 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.

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