An option that turned out to be mandatory
One month later, things got complicated. On September 26, it became mandatory and necessary to accept the conditions in order to continue using the app. The problem is, you no longer had the box to uncheck if you didn’t want to share your information with Facebook. If you put off the decision all this time, then you were left without an option.
The authorities take a stand
The consequences were immediate. Just one day after the change in conditions, the Data Protection Agency in Hamburg issued and administrative order with the intention of preventing the collection of information. Even though names and numbers are not shared, other things like your smartphone model, usage time, screen resolution, and wireless service provider are included in the batch of sent information. Given WhatsApp and Facebook are independent entities, there’s a lot of legal aspects that interfere with the jurisdiction of many countries involved. Many governments have realized this.
In Spain, the Spanish Data Protection Agency also shared their intentions to conduct a thorough investigation about the matter. All of these movements have lead to the combined drafting of a specific request on the behalf of a group of various European countries (the so-called G29) to Jan Koum, current CEO of WhatsApp, dated October 27, 2016. This movement has had an effect, considering that Facebook has indefinitely suspended the crossover of information with WhatsApp until the situation is clarified.
Much ado about nothing
Beyond the information provided here, let’s get a few things straight. The idea of WhatsApp sharing certain information with Facebook is like a grain of sand in the desert. Google takes information about your browsing habits on a daily basis, along with other services from third-parties that we don’t even understand. All this controversy could just come from the attractive idea of stopping a big company from getting away with something. It could at least serve as some attention given to how businesses use our private information illegally. What’s clear is that when all is said and done, all this talk isn’t going to affect users nearly at all, aside from a few ads that know you have a Samsung smartphone and you tend to chat before bed. But even your neighbor knows that.