Facebook is getting orders from German authority to stop WhatsApp from collecting information from its users. WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014, has been sending notifications to 35 million Germans telling them to connect their account with Facebook.
As a response, Germany's commission on data protection has banned Facebook from further asking for user data. It further instructed Facebook to delete data that has been transferred from WhatsApp. Commissioner Johannes Caspar stressed that Facebook has to request permission in advance, which has not happened.
"This administrative order protects the data of about 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany. It has to be their decision, whether they want to connect their account with Facebook," Caspar said.
This development comes just a month after WhatsApp announced that it will start sharing data with Facebook. This was a big shift from WhatsApp's earlier privacy stance, which stated that "respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA".
WhatsApp, which is a chat service that requires only your mobile phone number to sign up, gained popularity for its privacy and ad-free features. However, the privacy switch after the Facebook acquisition has drawn speculations that user data, including phone numbers, will be used without the user's permission or knowledge.
Facebook has recently responded with an email statement saying: ""Facebook complies with EU data protection law. We will appeal this order and we will work with the Hamburg DPA in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns."