Rejection of new data protection rules initially has no consequences

When the new rules were introduced, it was stated that users who do not want to divulge their data face the gradual loss of important functions. The chat service is now apparently moving away from this.

The logo of the messenger app Whatsapp can be seen on the screen of a smartphone.

FFor the time being, WhatsApp users will not have any consequences if they do not agree to the new data protection provisions of the chat service. There are currently no plans to restrict the functionality for them, a spokesman for the Facebook company told the technology blogs “The Next Web” and “The Verge” on Friday.

WhatsApp wants to clarify this after consulting with authorities and experts. Instead, these users will be reminded of the update “from time to time”.

WhatsApp put the new data protection regulations into effect around two weeks ago. It said that users who do not agree to the update threaten to gradually lose important functions after a few weeks with warnings. “It is currently not planned to make these reminders permanent or to limit the functionality of the app,” it now says in WhatsApp’s questions and answers about the new regulations.

Initially drastic restrictions planned

According to previous announcements, users should lose access to their chat list over time, as WhatsApp explained in a blog entry. First of all, you should still be able to accept incoming audio and video calls and use the notifications to answer chat messages. A few more weeks later, WhatsApp would then neither send calls nor messages to their smartphones, was the announcement.

WhatsApp had always emphasized that the update did not involve any additional data transfer to Facebook. The changes are primarily about creating better ways to communicate with companies.

German users protected until autumn

The Hamburg data protection advocate Johannes Caspar nevertheless stepped in and issued a precautionary order in mid-May that prohibited Facebook from processing WhatsApp data from German users. It is valid for three months because the Irish data protection authority is responsible for Facebook in Europe. WhatsApp replied that the arrangement was based “on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and consequences of the update”.

WhatsApp had already rejected the announcement in January that more data would be shared with the mother. However, the introduction of the new provisions was postponed by more than three months to May 15 following criticism and a migration of users.