New Whatsapp policies apply from Saturday – what users need to know now

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Whatsapp service requires its users to agree to new privacy policies by May 15, which have been sharply criticized. But what happens to those who have not agreed by then?

Next Saturday (May 15) is the day: anyone who does not agree to the new privacy policy of the text messaging service Whatsapp by then will no longer be able to use “the full functionality,” according to information from the provider. Behind the new guidelines are changes that should actually have come into effect months ago. But at the beginning of the year, the date was postponed to mid-May – partly because there was a big outcry among users.

Specifically, the forced changes are primarily about data transfer to the parent company Facebook. “The WhatsApp terms and conditions contain extensive passages with which the service grants itself the right to share users’ data with other Facebook companies,” criticizes Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg data protection commissioner. This becomes clear in the following passage of the Whatsapp guidelines: “We have legitimate interests to process personal data for the following purposes: To promote the products of Facebook companies and to send direct advertising.”

Caspar issued an order on Tuesday to prohibit Facebook from processing personal data from Whatsapp by immediate enforcement, which incidentally is also incompatible with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “The order is intended to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the many millions of users who give their consent to the terms of use throughout Germany,” says Caspar. There are currently said to be around 60 million Whatsapp users in Germany.

Caspar adds, “Currently, there is reason to believe that the data sharing provisions between WhatsApp and Facebook are intended to be enforced illegally due to the lack of voluntariness and informed consent.”

Many users will have already agreed to the terms in recent months. But what happens to those who don’t by the May 15 deadline? “You will receive calls and notifications for a short time, but you will neither be able to read messages in the app nor send any,” Whatsapp informs and emphasizes not to delete the account, which is why a later consent would still be possible. However, if you definitely want to have your messages backed up, you should take the precaution of creating a backup before the weekend.

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