Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

WhatsApp Sued by German Consumer Group Over Data Policy

  • Consumer association VZBV sues WhatsApp in Berlin Court
  • VZBV attacks transfer of data to Facebook as illegal

A German consumer group sued Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp in a Berlin court over clauses that allow the messaging service to collect and transfer user data between the platforms.

The suit is challenging the privacy terms WhatsApp changed in August, which allow for transferring some data to Facebook’s social network, VZBV said in a statement on Monday. Each consumer must be able to decide on his own which personal data is revealed and how it is used, the group said.

"Our experts brought the misconduct to light. Now we’ll meet in court," VZBV said. "Be it Facebook, Google, Amazon or now WhatsApp: we target violations."

WhatsApp’s data rules have triggered a wave of concerns by European regulators. The bloc’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is now probing Menlo Park, California-based Facebook for possibly supplying "incorrect or misleading information" about how it planned to use customer data when it filed for approval to acquire WhatsApp. German’s antitrust regulator is also probing the data-transfer issue.

WhatsApp said in an e-mailed statement that its privacy policy and terms updates comply with the law and they give users a clear and simple explanation of how the service works, enabling them to chose how data is used.

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