Bodies require postponement of the implementation of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

In a recommendation published last Friday (May 7th), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE,) the National Secretary for Consumer Defense (SENACON), the Brazilian Data Protection Authority (ANPD), and the Public Federal Ministry (MPF) ask for the postponement of the implementation of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. The policy, announced earlier this year, would allow users to share their personal data with companies in the Facebook economic group and mandatorily must be accepted by all users, who wish to continue using the service. Such a stance was interpreted by the authorities as abuse of dominant power, removing the freedom of choice of authorizing data sharing or not, and they recommend that WhatsApp refrain from restricting access to the application from users who do not agree with the new privacy policy, ensuring the continuance of the current one.

The alleged concerns are not restricted to the competitive sphere. Questions have been raised about the use of the processed data, its purpose, the conservation of the rights of the account holders, in the light of the Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD), and the absence of clear and accurate information about the use of consumer data. In addition, it is argued that the absence of an opt out mechanism, so that the user can avoid conversations initiated by commercial accounts, may violate their freedom of not wanting to receive unwelcome communications, moreover, being the opposite from the latest “no disturbance” consumer policies, contained in the cooperation agreements signed by the National Secretary for Consumer Defense.

Facebook and WhatsApp are expected to respond to the recommendation later this week. Lastly, the regulatory agencies request that WhatsApp refrain from performing any type of treatment or data sharing data, based on the changes in its new Privacy Policy, scheduled to take effect on May 15th, as long as there is no positioning from the regulatory bodies.