According to Reuters, South Africa's information regulator has now ruled that Facebook Inc cannot share any contact information it collects from WhatsApp users in South Africa with its other properties without first obtaining authorisation from the regulator.
The move is said to be in accordance with the country’s data protection law. The regulator has written to Facebook South Africa to explain its concerns. It seems especially unhappy at what it sees as more robust privacy protection for EU citizens compared to Africans.
WhatsApp is now reviewing the regulator’s letter. WhatsApp appears to be playing down the update, suggesting that it does not expand the company’s ability to share data with Facebook, or affect the privacy of users’ messages with friends or family.
South Africa is far from alone. Turkey and India have been among countries expressing concern about the changes. In fact, as we have reported, in India, where it has hundreds of millions of users, the update of WhatsApp terms and conditions has been moved from the original date of 8 February to 15 May.