After Facebook disruption: Hamburg’s chief data protection officer calls for stronger regulation


After the global system crash on the major Facebook platforms, Hamburg’s acting data protection officer, Ulrich Kühn, called for greater regulation of the services. The case has shown once again that the European versions of Facebook and WhatsApp are controlled centrally from the USA, he said in an interview with the Augsburger Allgemeine. The independence of Facebook’s European offshoots is apparent and consists “above all on paper”.

Kühn expects increasing efforts to tap the Facebook group more on the fingers – breaking up or separating individual services is also under discussion. In particular, Kühn criticized Facebook’s ongoing efforts to use data from one service for the other in the newspaper interview. The implementation of data protection requirements is now “a necessary first step”.

With an emergency procedure, Hamburg’s then chief data protection officer Johannes Caspar prohibited data from Facebook and WhatsApp from being merged in the spring. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) did not approve this in July and saw the Irish data protection authority, the Data Protection Commission (DPC), as responsible. Caspar’s ban could only be obtained for three months. Nevertheless, the EDSA was in agreement, said Kühn the Augsburger Allgemeine: The data usage jointly operated by Facebook can “only take place on the basis of the clear consent of the users concerned”.

In September Ireland’s data protection regulator fined WhatsApp € 225 million. The reason for this is the lack of transparency of the social media giant in the processing of data between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies. The group has already lodged an objection against this. However, it can take a long time before a final decision is made.

Some companies and organizations are now also drawing their conclusions from the data protection situation in Facebook services: Just recently, for example, the DFB announced that it would ban WhatsApp for business communication due to data protection concerns.


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