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The Government against Facebook: they dictate a measure to prevent WhatsApp from using user information

2021-05-16T07:07:23.015Z

The new privacy policies of the messaging application started today. 05/15/2021 11:37 AM Clarín.com Economy Updated 05/15/2021 11:37 AM The Ministry of Internal Trade, based on a report from the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC), issued a precautionary measure for Facebook to suspend the implementation of theWhatsApp's new Terms of Service and Privacy Policies , announced for this Saturday considering that it would incur in a situation of



05/15/2021 11:37 AM

  • Clarín.com

  • Economy

Updated 05/15/2021 11:37 AM

The Ministry of Internal Trade, based on a report from the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC), issued a precautionary measure for

Facebook to suspend

the implementation of the

WhatsApp's

new Terms of Service

and Privacy Policies

, announced for this Saturday considering that it would incur in a

situation of abuse of dominant position

.

The measure is in addition to the

ex officio investigation

opened by the National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data. The instant messaging application was going to implement its new privacy policies on February 8, but then announced its new entry into force for May 15.


According to the CNDC's opinion, the new WhatsApp Privacy Policies could

harm competition and the

general

economic interest

, thus violating the Antitrust Law, more precisely an infringement of art. 1 of Law 27442. While the precautionary measure lasts,

the CNDC will investigate the use that Facebook will give to the data obtained

from WhatsApp

users

and that, it is presumed,

could be used for commercial purposes

, the Secretariat reported in a statement.

WhatsApp has a penetration that exceeds 76% in mobile phones in Argentina.

"The other messaging applications still have low penetration, so the user cannot replace it without losing this means of communication with many of his contacts."

explained in the Secretariat that Paula Español manages.

"This generates a

strong asymmetry in the bargaining power

between the user and WhatsApp, for which they will be mostly forced to accept the new Terms of Service, thereby enabling WhatsApp to

collect excessive personal data and share the personal information

of improperly with other applications of the group, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Among the data are:

access to the address book, telephone number, operations data

(for example, if using Facebook Pay or Stores on WhatsApp), information related to the service, information on interaction with companies when using use the service, information about the mobile device and the IP address;

in addition to other data that the user provides or is automatically collected by the application according to the "Information we collect" section of the Privacy Policy.

If the user does not accept the new Terms of Service this Saturday, they will experience limitations in the functionality of the application

and after a few weeks the application will stop operating and will lose all stored data.

As a precedent to this precautionary measure, the Undersecretariat of Actions for the Defense of Consumers, following the complaint of a user, had charged Facebook Argentina SRL for

including alleged abusive clauses

in the WhatsApp service conditions.

In addition, the Secretariat stressed that "the conditions of the company are written in English, and present an unofficial translation, so it would not be providing a valid contract in the official language of our country."

"The 'extension of jurisdiction' is added, by which

the provider intends to assume the power to choose the competent court in case of conflict

, a fact expressly prohibited by the Consumer Defense Law (No. 24,240), and the possibility that The company may end or modify the contract

unilaterally

according to its own criteria and without establishing any parameters, even to the point of transferring the obligation to consumers to notify themselves of these changes, taking the silence on their part as acceptance of the contractual modification, "he added.

According to the law, the general clauses must be understandable, self-sufficient, have a clear, complete wording and be easily legible.

Consequently, those that do not comply with these premises can be misleading.

"For their part, according to the CNDC report, Facebook and Instagram, with the power that this information will grant them, added to the most modern information processing technologies,

will be able to strengthen their dominance position in other markets such as the online advertising

, raising entry barriers or making it difficult for its non-integrated competitors to survive and ultimately monopolizing the market to the detriment of the general economic interest, "the statement said.

"In addition,

even though the WhatsApp messaging service seems free, it is not

. The information that the user provides is extremely valuable for social networks, so much so that this free subscription could be an unfair and even ruinous agreement for the user", Add.

The Secretary of Commerce recalls that already in other countries such as the

United States and members of the European Economic Community

they put limits on the information that social networks can collect and share.

And countries like

India, Brazil and Turkey have

already started investigations into the functioning of these markets.

NE

Look also

WhatsApp will not delete accounts for not accepting its new conditions, but it has a catch

New terms and conditions of use in WhatsApp: these are the changes in the data shared with Facebook

Source: clarin

All business articles on 2021-05-16

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