OMG! Helpless Facebook gets a rude shock in Germany

Berlin: The German Court did not budge and Facebook could do nothing about it. No, Facebook cannot process the personal data of WhatsApp users without the permission of Germans. The issue is also a talking point in India as there have been voices against this policy of the social networking giant.

In a setback to the social networking giant, a German court has upheld its decision asking it to obtain the permission of WhatsApp users in the country before processing their personal data to Facebook.

The court also overturned Germany's privacy regulator's order that the companies delete data they had already transferred, a report in technology website InfoWorld said on Wednesday.

Last August, Facebook-owned WhatsApp changed its privacy policy to allow the transfer of its users' personal information to Facebook for processing -- a move that has also created a furore in India.

The move angered the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, which in September ordered the companies to stop the transfer until they had obtained users' consent and to delete any data they had already transferred, the report said.

Facebook challenged the order in Hamburg's administrative court and the court handed down its ruling.

The court upheld the Commissioner's requirement to obtain consent but gave respite to Facebook to delete the data on procedural grounds.

The report said that the social media giant plans to appeal the court's ruling.

"WhatsApp designed its privacy policy and terms update to comply with applicable law," a Facebook spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

There are nearly 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany.

News24Bureau and IANS