The EU is putting pressure on Silicon Valley companies to explain how they use their customers’ data. The regulators have demanded additional information from WhatsApp and Yahoo whilst requesting that they cooperate fully with the authorities. This could signal the launch of various probes by the national data protection regulators.
A German privacy watchdog has already demanded that Facebook stops collecting WhatsApp data, and Facebook is appealing against a ban on storing data relating to WhatsApp’s 35 million German users. Following the expression of the privacy regulators’ concerns on Friday, Italy’s competition watchdog opened up an antitrust investigation into WhatsApp for a possible violation of consumer protection laws. The Italian competition authority is seeking to establish whether the messaging service forces its users to expose personal data to Facebook. French regulators have also launched an investigation.
The messaging service has been addressing the data protection authorities’ questions, and a spokeswoman told the Financial Times “We’ve had constructive conversations, including before our update, and we remain committed to respecting applicable law.” However, Yahoo are yet to respond to a request for comment. Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin sent a letter to Yahoo stating that the multinational technology company should devote “significant resources” to understanding, communicating and elaborating on all aspects of the “unprecedented data breach” to individuals whose data was exposed.