Berlin: A German regulator on Tuesday imposed a three-month ban on collecting user data from WhatsApp accounts on Facebook and referred the matter to the European Union watchdog citing concerns about electoral integrity.
The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information sent the order to the social network, which owns the popular messaging service. Hamburg has jurisdiction because the German branch of Facebook is located in the city. The tech giant informed WhatsApp users earlier this year that they would have to agree to a new data-use policy to continue using the service. The German authority said in an emergency decision that the terms of that agreement had been null and void in Europe’s top economy for three months now.
The matter will be referred to the European Data Protection Board, an independent European Union body that enforces regulations in blocks of 27 countries. The head of the German regulator, Johannes Caspar, said that Germany’s general election in September, along with previous Facebook data security breaches, showed the “dangers” of “mass creation of user profiles”.