Italy’s data authority scrutinizes WhatsApp’s updated privacy disclaimer

In a statement Italy’s data protection authority said, Facebook Inc has not clearly communicated its new privacy policy for its messenger app WhatsApp to users.

On January 4, 2021, in an update WhatsApp said it reserved the right to share some data, including location and phone numbers, with Facebook and its units including Messenger and Instagram.

The move has sparked protests among users around the world leading to many users migrating to Whatsapp competitors such as Telegram and Signal.

“The authority believes it was not possible for users to understand what kind of changes were being introduced, nor how data would be treated after Feb. 8,” said Italy’s data authority.

The Italian data authority said it would look carefully into Whatsapp’s policy disclaimer to assess its compliance with privacy data rules, adding it stood ready to urgently intervene. It also said, it had brought the issue to the attention of European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

According to WhatsApp’s spokeswoman, it was looking into the authority’s position in relation to the updated privacy disclaimer.

“We want it to be clear that the changes … do not affect the privacy of messages exchanged with friends or relatives … the update makes it more transparent how we gather and use data,” said WhatsApp’s spokeswoman.

Whatsapp’s updated privacy policy has come under global legal scrutiny with the company facing scrutiny in Turkey and in India.

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