WhatsApp privacy changes spark questions by Italian watchdog

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WhatsApp says the change is necessary to help it integrate better with other Facebook products.
Privacy Change to WhatsApp Facebook Inc. it is unclear and confusing for users, the Italian data protection watchdog warns

WhatsApp began to tell 2 billion users this month that he has the right to share data with a broader Facebook network.

Italian authority said in a statement on Thursday that changes needed to “be carefully evaluated in the light of privacy regulations,” and it was searched for guidance from the body of the EU’s top privacy body.

The new term, which will be sent at the beginning of 2021, has caused protests among technology experts, advocates of privacy, billionaire entrepreneurs, and government organizations and have triggered a wave of defense against rival services. WhatsApp said the change was needed to help integrate it better with other Facebook products.

Italian watchdog added that it can be forced to step to protect state users and enforce the rules of data protection.

Whatsapp said it reviewed the announcement of the Italian authority, adding that the company is committed “to provide everyone in Italy with a private end-to-end encrypted message.”

“We want to explain that policy updates do not affect your message privacy with friends or family in any way or ask Italian users to approve the practice of sharing new data with Facebook,” WhatsApp said in an email statement. “In contrast, this update provides further transparency about how we collect and use data, and clarify changes related to business messaging in WhatsApp, which is optional.”

Italy’s warning comes as an Irish data protection commission, which is the EU regulator for Facebook, says near the end of a separate probe into transparency around data distribution in WhatsApp, especially information shared by the parent company.

Irish watchdog last month sent a draft decision to all other EU regulators, Graham Doyle, a spokesman for the authority, telephone. Input from all 27 EU watchdogs is required in the probe with an EU-wide effect.

He refused to comment on a potential fine, which could be as high as 4% of the company’s revenue under the EU data protection regulation.

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