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EU Watchdog Tells Facebook To Stay Off WhatsApp Data

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European Union privacy chiefs want Facebook to put a stop to storing and processing user data from its WhatsApp messaging service. The EU regulators are undergoing an investigation into privacy policy changes made by the social media company this August.

On Friday, Oct. 28, privacy chiefs belonging to the EU's 28 nations sent out an e-statement to Facebook. In the statement, they expressed "serious concerns" over the fact that Facebook archives user data belonging to WhatsApp users and uses the info in ways that are not part of the original terms of service users agreed to when they signed up for the service.

WhatsApp Will Respect Applicable Law

EU watchdogs are not stepping away from questioning the methods deployed by American tech companies, as probes were deployed against Alphabet, Facebook or Microsoft.

Current coercion methods are still rather unconvincing, but this is prone to change as new EU rules will go into play in 2018. One such new law will enable the EU to penalize misconduct from tech companies with 4 percent of the enterprise's yearly sales.

WhatsApp responded to the e-mail statement by saying that it is cooperating with data protection authorities in order to sort things out.

"We remain committed to respecting applicable law," the company noted.

It also underlined that it has been in talks with EU privacy regulators since before the contested update from this summer.

Yahoo Massive Hacking Case

The EU panel, which is dubbed The Article 29 Working Party, also addressed the fact that Yahoo's accounts were hacked in 2014, placing the email credential of 500 million users into hackers' hands. The hacking was estimated as being the largest data breach in digital history, and its implication can be spine-chilling.

The EU watchdogs urged Yahoo to take action and warn its European users of possible negative impact the massive hacking could have had.

The panel also noted that it is worried about purported invasion of privacy from U.S. intelligence agencies, which benefited from Yahoo's help. Rumors surfaced that Yahoo allows the surveillance of its customers' emails by U.S. intelligence agencies, which caused the panel to firmly ask the company to demonstrate the legal basis of these actions, as well as the compatibility with EU law.

Yahoo declined to make any official comment on the situation.

Both the Yahoo and the WhatsApp issues are scheduled to be discussed by the panel at its first meeting, which will take place this November.

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