WhatsApp reveals update to conversation archive

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In July 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published a binding decision against WhatsApp’s non-compliance with EU’s GDPR rules. The case was brought against the Meta-owned company by a number of regulators across the EU.

The European body recommended to the IRSH DPC that it impose a record fine on the messaging company of €225million.

WhatsApp was forced to update its privacy policy to make it more transparent to users as a consequence in November.

At the time, WhatsApp announced: “As ordered by the Irish [DPC], we have reorganised and added more detail to our Privacy Policy for people in the European Region.

“We disagree with the decision and are appealing because we believe we already provided the required information to all our users.

“This update does not change our commitment to user privacy or the way we operate our service, including how we process, use or share your data with anyone, including Meta.

“Wherever you are in the world, we protect all personal messages with end-to-end encryption, which means no one, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.”

But the company is now appealing to annul the EDPB’s decision.

The move is the first ever legal challenge against the European body.

WhatsApp is arguing seven pleas in law to support its case, accusing the EDPB of “exceeding” its competences and “excessively” interpreting the provisions of the GDPR laws on personal data.

The messaging company angered its users earlier in 2021 when it announced a change to its privacy policy.

Initial reports claimed the new terms would see WhatsApp users forced into sharing data with Facebook, which the chat app has since been pouring cold water on.

Meta has said their data-sharing practices had not changed, and that the updated terms relate to messaging a business on WhatsApp – which not all users do anyway.

WhatsApp tried to clear up the “confusion” over their new Ts and Cs, which seemed to have spooked some users.

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Faced with the updated terms and conditions, WhatsApp users flocked to rival services such as Signal and Telegram.

Ahead of the new T&Cs being rolled out to some two billion WhatsApp users worldwide, Signal suddenly found itself at the top of the charts on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in multiple regions around the world.

WhatsApp has been owned by Facebook (now Meta) since 2014, and the two platforms have been sharing user data since.

Much of the data sharing between the two platforms was optional, with users previously being able to opt out of cross-platform sharing of information.

As of July 2020, WhatsApp shared users’ IP addresses with Facebook.

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