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Technology

French Data Watchdog CNIL Opens Probe Into Clubhouse App

  • Probe aims to confirm whether GDPR applies to Clubhouse
  • German regulator also looking at how app protects user privacy

France’s data-protection watchdog said it’s opened a probe into private social media app Clubhouse following a complaint.

French regulator CNIL said on Wednesday it questioned Alpha Exploration Co. Inc., the U.S. company behind the invite-only app, about the measures taken for the app to comply with EU rules on March 12.

CNIL said the probe aims to confirm whether the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation applies to Clubhouse, even though it has no establishment in Europe. If so, the watchdog could make use of its sanctioning powers, it said.

The probe follows concerns voiced by one of Germany’s most outspoken data protection regulators last month. The Hamburg data regulator asked the makers of the Clubhouse app for information about how they protect the privacy of European users and their contacts.

Clubhouse users post off-the-cuff, informal conversations. It has become a popular platform, with about 5 million users by the end of January.

The French Competition Authority also announced Wednesday that it is examining whether Apple applied less stringent rules to itself than to other services.