With the deadline to accept WhatsApp’s updated terms of service fast approaching, Germany has cut Facebook off at the pass and banned that practice before it starts.
The move comes after WhatsApp’s questionable decision to strangle features for users until they either leave the app or are forced to accept the updated terms and conditions.
With some 60 million WhatsApp users in Germany according to Euronews, the Data Protection Authority met in Hamburg to discuss the matter.
The result of that meeting is a three month ban on collection of WhatsApp data by Facebook.
“The order aims to secure the rights and freedoms of millions of users which are agreeing to the terms Germany-wide,” said head of the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg, Johannes Caspar.
“We need to prevent damage and disadvantages linked to such a black-box-procedure,” Caspar added.
In addition to the ban in Germany, Caspar has reportedly approached the European Union and asked data regulators there to take action and issue a ruling similar to his across the bloc of 27 nations.
But WhatsApp isn’t going to stop the roll out of its update just because a country said so, this is a Facebook company after all.
A spokesperson for WhatsApp told Euronews, “As the Hamburg DPA’s claims are wrong, the order will not impact the continued roll-out of the update. We remain fully committed to delivery secure and private communications for everyone.”
So Facebook/WhatsApp is challenging a government now. We’d say this won’t end well for Facebook but that would be a misinformed opinion. Earlier this year, the Australian government fought Facebook and it lost after Zuckerberg et al cut access to news via Facebook in Australia.
Whether this three month ban will have any effect on WhatsApp’s presence in Germany will have to wait until Saturday when the deadline to accept the new terms of service arrive.