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
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

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now


Policy & legislation

Irish Data Protection Commission has questions for Facebook

29 Jan 2019
internet security

Facebook exec calls Cambridge Analytica scandal a "non event"

8 Jan 2020
data management

EU-US data transfer tools used by Facebook ruled legal

19 Dec 2019

Facebook apps dominated this decade's mobile market

18 Dec 2019

Most Popular

data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

Memes and Viking funerals: The internet reacts to the death of Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020