Watchdog rejects ban on Facebook processing WhatsApp data
The regulator based in Hamburg had said it was banning the social network from processing personal data from WhatsApp users because it viewed its new terms as illegal. However despite the rejection, the UE regulator in Ireland has been told to investigate. WhatsApp said the action had no legitimate basis and would not impact the rollout of the update.
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), a forum that groups regulators from the bloc’s 27 member states, said today that the conditions to demonstrate the existence of an infringement had not been met and it has decided no final measures need to be adopted against Facebook.
Possible extension to user data collection freeze
However it said that the three-month freeze on WhatsApp’s collection of user data could be extended. And it added that due to contradictions, ambiguities and uncertainties noted in WhatsApp’s user-facing information, it was not in a position to determine with certainty which processing operations Facebook was carrying out and in which capacities.
There was also not enough information to establish with certainty whether Facebook had started to process WhatsApp user data for its own purposes of marketing communications and direct marketing. As a result, the EDPB asked Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) to open a statutory investigation as a matter of priority.
Past proceedings on data protection
The Irish DPC leads oversight of Facebook because the company’s European headquarters are based in Ireland. It had 14 major inquiries into the social media giant and its WhatsApp and Instagram subsidiaries open as of the end of last year.