The Information Commissioner has responded to changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making to how they handle customers’ personal data. Elizabeth Denham said:
“The changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making will affect a lot of people. Some might consider it’ll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control.
“Our role is to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared, and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed.
“We’ve been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this.”
Elizabeth Denham was appointed Information Commissioner in July 2016.
She has more than a decade of regulatory experience in similar senior roles in privacy and access to information regulation in Canada, including a recently completed six year term as Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, and a term as Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Her work in Canada included investigations into information access shortfalls by the British Columbia government and a wide-reaching investigation into Facebook’s privacy policies.