WhatsApp slammed over sharing user data with Facebook

The European Union’s data regulator group has rapped WhatsApp for the “take it or leave it approach” it has taken regarding sharing of user data with the parent company Facebook.

The EU data regulator has launched a taskforce to implement “a clear, comprehensive resolution” to comply with EU law, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

The taskforce has been set up by the pan-European data regulator, the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), a year after it first issued a warning to the chat app over its sharing of user data with the wider group of Facebook companies, forcing it to pause data transfer.

WhatsApp changed its privacy policy last year to start sharing users’ phone numbers and other information with Facebook.

The change drew widespread regulatory scrutiny across Europe.

The scrutiny focused on the requirement for users to consent to the sharing of data and the level of information provided for them to make an informed choice.

In a letter sent to WhatsApp this week, WP29 said the company had still not resolved its concerns about getting user consent for the data sharing.

The regulators said that the information given to users about the privacy policy update was “seriously deficient as a means to inform their consent”.

The group said the “take it or leave it approach”, which mandated users who disagreed should simply stop using the service did not constitute freely given consent, while pre-ticked boxes did not constitute unambiguous consent, the Guardian report said.

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