European consumer advocate with complaint against Whatsapp

A European consumer association accuses Whatsapp of having unfairly urged users to accept the new data protection rules.

On the one hand, the consumer protection organization Beuc is targeting the requests sent by notification to accept the changed guidelines. They had put the users under pressure and thus violated the EU rules against unfair business practices, the association argued in its complaint to the EU Commission on Monday.

On the other hand, Beuc criticizes that the new rules are formulated so vaguely that users cannot understand the consequences of an assumption for their data. This also violates European consumer protection laws, which require clear and transparent communication.

Whatsapp reacts in incomprehension

Whatsapp replied, as to previous criticism, that the complaint was based on a misunderstanding of the goals and consequences of the new rules. The update explain the possibilities of communicating with companies via Whatsapp and make more transparent how data is collected and used.

The chat service belonging to Facebook had after the criticism of the rules announced in January backed down. Originally, users who do not agree to the update should lose access to basic functions over time. In the meantime, they no longer face any consequences. Only the new functions for communication with companies will only be able to be used after approval of the update. According to Whatsapp, they were the main reason for changing the terms of use.

The trigger for the criticism was the assessment that with the update, which came into force in mid-May, more data should be shared with the parent company Facebook. Whatsapp rejects this. At the same time, it is emphasized that the end-to-end encryption, with which the service itself does not have access to content, will not be weakened. Whatsapp has more than two billion users.

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Whatsapp boss Will Cathcart admitted a few weeks ago that there were errors in the announcement of the new rules. “We have to clearly communicate what we are doing and why.” Whatsapp missed this. “We only became clearer when we saw the confusion. It’s our responsibility, ”he said. Most of the users accept the new rules, stressed Cathcart. dpa

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