A few weeks ago Facebook-owned WhatsApp started circulating a message claiming that the companies will soon be able to share personal information of the users.
Apparently, WhatsApp was to provide Facebook with details, primarily one’s phone number, of those using the chat app, however, this started causing some unrest among those following the app closely. As at the time of this writing, the company is in trouble as a German privacy regulator has come in with an order aiming to stop the two companies from sharing personal user data.
The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information pointed out that not all 35+ million users of WhatsApp in Germany had given Facebook their consent to collect and share their data. Facebook is expected to appeal the order.
According to the German watchdog, both WhatsApp and Facebook are independent companies and as such, they are expected to process their user data in the same way. This stems from the fact that the two companies have always promised users that they would never share their data with third parties or even between them, but this changed in August when WhatsApp announced a change in privacy terms.
For those on Facebook and WhatsApp, having the latter’s data shared with the former helps you get better-tailored ads as well as better friends suggestions. All these will come from your shared phone number or even the last seen timestamp. Even though Germany is the first to react to this WhatsApp policy change, we expect more similar reactions to come from the likes of the U.S., UK as well as the rest of Europe, among other regions.
With WhatsApp now set for major court cases across the globe, it may just be the right time for Google Allo to steal the show. Even though it sounds too ambitious, it is possible that the app could boom in such moments. Allo was launched about a week ago and it is still very young, but you will for sure enjoy some of the features it offers – features that are unique to it.