German Watchdog Rebukes Facebook's $19B WhatsApp Buy

Law360, New York (February 21, 2014, 2:39 PM EST) -- A German privacy regulator on Thursday urged mobile messaging users to abandon WhatsApp, saying the venture-backed service's $19 billion marriage with Facebook Inc. threatens to expose vast troves of information ripe for commercial exploitation.

The data authority of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein issued a stinging warning that the blockbuster acquisition could hand Facebook the key to WhatsApp's dossier of smartphone messaging content and communication metadata and exacerbate ongoing breaches of national and European data secrecy rules.

The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection, or ULD, has...
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