ICO investigates WhatsApp-Facebook data sharing deal

Data watchdog says it will "pull back the curtain" on how information will be shared

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will investigate WhatsApp's decision to share users' data with Facebook, it has confirmed.

Elizabeth Denham, the new information commissioner, said she plans to "pull back the curtain" on exactly how people's data is being shared between the two firms, following yesterday's announcement.

WhatsApp will let businesses chat to users on its platform for the first time in the next few months, but also changed its terms and conditions to allow it to pass users' information onto its parent company Facebook, which bought it for 11.2 billion in 2014.

The UK's data watchdog said there may be nothing wrong with the decision to share data, but that it has a responsibility to check.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Denham said in a statement: "The changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making will affect a lot of people. Some might consider it'll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control.

"Our role is to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared, and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed.

"We've been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this."

WhatsApp believes that by sharing data with Facebook, the social network can serve better adverts to users, as well as allowing the chat platform "to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp".

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now


Policy & legislation

Irish Data Protection Commission has questions for Facebook

29 Jan 2019
digital currency

China prepares to launch the first domestic cryptocurrency

6 Nov 2019
digital currency

MasterCard and Visa abandon support of Facebook's Libra

14 Oct 2019
software as a service (SaaS)

Facebook Workplace boasts three million users in three years

9 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Mobile Phones

Pablo Escobar's brother launches budget foldable phone

4 Dec 2019
wifi & hotspots

Industrial Wi-Fi 6 trial reveals blistering speeds

5 Dec 2019