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The Italian DPA Investigates WhatsApp

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The Italian DPA Investigates WhatsApp

The Italian Data Protection Authority (Garante per la protezione dei dati personali) is inquiring into the changes to WhatsApp's privacy policy that were made at end August to enable passing on to Facebook information on WhatsApp users' accounts also for marketing purposes.

The  DPA has requested WhatsApp and Facebook to provide information in order to assess the case thoroughly.

In particular, detailed information on the following items is being sought:

- What data categories WhatsApp is planning to make available to Facebook;

- What arrangements are in place to obtain users' consent to disclosure of their data;

- What measures have been taken to enable exercise of users' rights under Italy' privacy legislation, since the notice given to users on their devices would appear to only allow withdrawing consent and objecting to data disclosure for a limited period.

In addition, the DPA is seeking clarification on whether the data of WhatsApp users that do not use Facebook will be also disclosed to the Menlo Park company; compliance with the purpose limitation principle is another issue under the DPA's scrutiny, given that no reference to marketing purposes was to be found in the information notice provided initially to WhatsApp users.

Rome, 27 September 2016