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German Data Protection Watchdog Warns Officials Against Using WhatsApp


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Sputnik International



MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Germany’s data protection commissioner Ulrich Kelber has warned federal authorities against using Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger while working from home during the coronavirus crisis, in a letter leaked by media on Sunday.

“Even in these difficult times data protection should not be neglected. For this reason I would like to point out that the use of WhatsApp by a federal agency is out of the question”, Kelber said in an email published by the German digital rights blog, Netzpolitik.

He warned that, although Facebook could not read encrypted messages, the application was providing it with other “metadata” like the IP address, location and the mobile operating system that could be used to piece together the user’s profile.

German authorities use the app to timely inform citizens about disinformation and digital fraud schemes. Kelber said this proved that a trusted information service needed to be created to satisfy the country’s strict data protection rules.

WhatsApp Messenger is an American freeware, cross-platform messaging service owned by Facebook that allows users to send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls, as well as share images, documents, user locations, and other forms of media.

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