A German privacy regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data of WhatsApp users in the country, Reuters reported. Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Johannes Caspar ordered the California-based company to delete the information already stored with it. Caspar said the two firms had infringed data policies as they had not been granted effective approval by the 35 million WhatsApp users in the country to collect their data.
Caspar further said that Facebook and its subsidiary had decided to share user information between them even after making public assurances that they would not do so. “The fact that this is now happening is not only a misleading of their users and the public, but also constitutes an infringement of national data protection law,” he added. Facebook later said that it complied with data protection laws set down by the European Union and that it is “open to working with” Caspar’s office to “resolve any concerns”, Bloomberg reported.
Caspar’s ruling comes after EU and United States regulators said they would examine changes to WhatsApp’s privacy settings made by the messaging service in August. Last week, the Delhi High Court asked the firm to remove the data of Indian users who deleted their accounts before its new policy went into effect on September 25. WhatsApp had announced it would start sharing its users’ phone numbers with Facebook as well as “coordinate” with the social network to better identify their accounts, which would allow the platform to recommend friends and show targeted ads.