German firm bans WhatsApp from work phones

Jun 06, 2018, 09:02 IST | Agencies

The company said such social media apps had "deficiencies" that made it difficult to comply with tough new EU data protection legislation, especially their insistence on having access to a user's contact list.

Representational Image
Representational Image

German car parts supplier Continental has said it was banning the use of WhatsApp and Snapchat on work-issued mobile phones "with immediate effect" because of data protection concerns.

The company said such social media apps had "deficiencies" that made it difficult to comply with tough new EU data protection legislation, especially their insistence on having access to a user's contact list.

"Continental is prohibiting its employees from using social media apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat in its global company network, effective immediately," the firm said.

A key principle of the EU's new general data protection regulation is that individuals must explicitly grant permission for their data to be used. But, Continental said that by demanding full access to address books, WhatsApp had shifted the burden onto the user, essentially expecting them to contact everyone in their phone to let them know their data was being shared.

The Hanover-based firm said it stood ready to reverse its decision once the service providers "change the basic settings to ensure that their apps comply with data-protection regulations by default".

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