French Watchdog CNIL has ordered that Whatsapp stop sharing data with its parent company, Facebook, for business advertising and promotion. CNIL has stated that WhatsApp does not have a legal basis to share data under French law and has given the app one month to comply before it enforces sanctions. Whatsapp has had problems in other European countries. Germany ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from Whatsapp users last September, and in the UK, Facebook agreed to stop collecting user data from Whatsapp in November last year.
The query began after WhatsApp added to its terms of service last year that it shares data with Facebook to develop targeted advertising, security measures, and to gather business intelligence. Upon investigating these claims, the CNIL ruled that while WhatsApp's intention of improving security measures was valid, the app's business intelligence reason wasn't as acceptable.
Nigel Hawthorn, chief European spokesperson at Skyhigh Networks, comments: “With Christmas just around the corner, CNIL has positioned itself as Facebook's Grinch by ordering WhatsApp to stop freely gifting customer data to its parent company.
“France joins Germany in demanding that WhatsApp stop sharing information for business intelligence and the UK Information Commissioner states that the data protection concerns have not yet been addressed – the scene is set for a duel between European privacy rules and the largest global social media site. It is an important test case and should be watched carefully by all organisations collecting and processing data on EU citizens.”
In May of this year, Facebook was fined £103 million for lying about its acquisition of Whatsapp and the fact that, according to the company, users were not able to link profiles between the two apps when in fact they can.