Dutch consumer group joins int’l case against WhatsApp over privacy policy change

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch Consumers’ Association filed a complaint against the messaging service, WhatsApp, in Brussels. The union said they believe WhatsApp is pressuring clients to accept new terms of use. The Consumers’ Association made the complaint together with seven other European consumer rights organizations and the umbrella organization BEUC.

WhatsApp users are shown “recurring and intrusive notifications” that they must accept the app’s new privacy policy which creates unnecessary pressure and limits people’s freedom of choice, according to the Consumers’ Association. If users do not comply, the company threatens to deny them access to the service.  The notifications are in violation of European regulations, the Consumers' Association said.

“WhatsApp limits consumers’ freedom of choice: if you do not accept, you can no longer use the service”, director of the Consumers’ Association, Sandra Molenaar said. “Moreover, the conditions are not transparent”, she continued, especially when it comes to sharing data with Facebook and other companies. “And that is against the law."

In addition, an investigation into the privacy policy of WhatsApp for violations of privacy legislation is already underway. “This makes the need for intervention by the authorities even greater. WhatsApp must respect the rights of consumers”, Molenaar said.


WhatsApp recently decided that users who have not agreed with the new terms will continue to have access to their accounts for the time being. 

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