WhatsApp Inc. has been ordered to stop sharing user data with Facebook by the French national data protection authority and privacy watchdog, Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL for short).
Earlier, Germany had requested Facebook to cease user intelligence exchanges in September 2016, while Facebook agreed to comply with a similar request from the U.K. late last year.
Europe’s privacy concerns had been raised originally by twenty eight privacy authorities in 2014, when Facebook owner and CEO Mark Zuckerberg purchased WhatsApp for $22 billion.
This year, CNIL highlighted that the massive data shares that occur between the two are not in the WhatsApp’s interest, and happen largely without the consent of users. The regulatory body also voiced the need to increase user awareness about privacy control and the sensitivity of data being shared for advertising purposes.
WhatsApp Refuses to Comply
Additionally, CNIL demanded a sample of user data transferred to Facebook, which WhatsApp refused to provide. This was on the basis of its interpretation that the legislation for the American company can be conducted only in the U.S.
At this, CNIL commented that WhatsApp was “insufficiently cooperating” and a formal notice was issued.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook and WhatsApp delayed their responses to emails that pointed out this development.
The French privacy regulator expressed concerns about the users’ inability to refuse data sharing without uninstalling WhatsApp, and threatened sanctions in case it failed to comply.
The European Union imposed a $122 million fine on Facebook for the provision of misleading information regarding WhatsApp this May, based on Facebook’s original claims that user profiles in the two social media would remain unlinked.
CNIL has given WhatsApp an ultimatum of one month. In the light of these recent charges on the social media app’s parent company, refusal to take action might have serious monetary repercussions.