WhatsApp will reportedly temporarily stop its data sharing with parent company Facebook in the United Kingdom (UK) as the country’s officials threatened with legal action.
As the communication app declared that the change will only offer its users a more relevant ads service, it also broke its promise that although having been bought, it will remain independent and protect user data.
Following the media backlash, the company is now facing even more serious consequences as both the European Union Commission and now the United Kingdom ICO have filed complaints against the app.
The United Kingdom ICO or Information Commissioner Office has issued a warning as it officially announced WhatsApp its plans of taking action if a number of user rights were not respected.
ICO demands that users be given back all or at least sufficient control over their data and how it is used by both Facebook and it other possible services.
Following the ensuing ICO investigation, Facebook announced that it will stop gathering data from its WhatsApp application users at least until the two entities can reach a common agreement.
According to Elizabeth Denham, an Information Commissioner, as the commission investigation started looking into the new privacy policies, she was concerned with the poor privacy protection measures.
As the investigation did nothing to quench the initial privacy concerns, the ICO asked both Facebook and WhatsApp to better explain to their users how their data will be used.
They also stated that they want to ensure that the users will have a complete control over what data will be sent to Facebook and also the chance to change their decision and allow or block the latter’s access.
The aforementioned Denham also considers that WhatsApp users should be able to control how their data is used, and not just for a temporary period of time of 30 days.
As the current pause in data sharing meant for advertisements and product improvement, Denham and the Commission are seeking to ensure new privacy options for the users that will allow them to better control how their data is used.
WhatsApp and Facebook have yet to demand to these request, as they also face a similar predicament in Germany.
The Information Commission does also not plan to stop after just a middle victory. They have also announced their plan of taking whatever action may be needed so as to enforce the users’ privacy.
As such, the ICO is set on battling Facebook accessing the WhatsApp data without a valid, conscious user agreement.
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