WhatsApp faces fresh trouble in Germany for its new privacy policy

WhatsApp faces fresh trouble in Germany for its new privacy policy

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has initiated plenty of conversations around the world, both among consumers and among regulators. Even as WhatsApp resolved to not take immediate coercive action against users who do not accept the new policy, and instead present them with a gradual nag-screen and account limitations, data protection regulators are swinging into action on the new policy. Now, Germany’s lead data protection regulator has temporarily banned the social network from processing personal data from WhatsApp.

As per a report from Reuters, Germany’s lead data protection regulator opened emergency proceedings against Facebook last month and has now ordered the social network to stop processing personal data from WhatsApp users as it views the messaging app’s new terms of use as illegal. The regulator is invoking extraordinary powers granted under the GDPR to impose a three-month freeze on Facebook’s collection of WhatsApp user data. The decision comes in mere days before the May 15 deadline for consenting to WhatsApp’s new terms. The Data Protection Authority will also be seeking an EU-wide ruling at the European Data Protection Board.

WhatsApp maintains that this action by the data protection authority “rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of its update, and therefore had no legitimate basis.” Further, WhatsApp intends to go ahead with the continued rollout of the update as the Data Protection Authorities’ claims are wrong.

Germany is not the only region where WhatsApp’s new policy faces a legal hurdle. The company faces an anti-trust investigation by the Competition Commission of India too, with the Delhi High Court also ruling that the CCI is well within its powers to order an anti-trust investigation even with the privacy policy being challenged separately before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India. We expect more developments to take place as the May 15 deadline inches closer. Meanwhile, users continue to flock to WhatsApp alternatives like Telegram and Signal.

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] or on Twitter (@aamirsidd94).