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Facebook-WhatsApp Risks Sparking Privacy Probes Across EU

Facebook Inc.’s plan to buy WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion risks triggering privacy probes across the European Union as watchdogs seek to know how the mobile-messaging startup’s treasure trove of client data will be used, the European Union’s top privacy regulator said yesterday.

The biggest Internet acquisition in more than a decade may spur interest from authorities who so far ignored the emergence of WhatsApp, said Jacob Kohnstamm, who leads a group of EU privacy officials known as the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party as well as the Dutch agency already investigating the 450-million client company.