Monday, 21 May, 2018

You should be at least 16 to use WhatsApp, says European law

A controversial AI tool could be soon be making a return to Europe and Canada after it fell foul of privacy laws. Facial recognition launched in 2010 suggests names for people it identifies Facial recognition launched in 2010 suggests names for people it identifies
Sherri Watson | 25 April, 2018, 07:23

The company said it is making the changes first in Europe, in order to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect on May 25.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica incident, Facebook said it would clamp down on data gathering by third-party apps such as quizzes and games on its platform, while some users moved to limit, disable or even delete their Facebook accounts in response.

WhatsApp will ask European users to confirm they are at least 16 years old when they are prompted to agree new terms of service and a privacy policy provided by a new WhatsApp Ireland Ltd entity in the next few weeks. Now in the past it was easy for users under a certain age to access websites and content meant for an older crowd just by clicking, "Yes I am over 18", so it is unclear as to how WhatsApp will require users to verify their age. Its parent firm, Facebook, had said that it will require parental permission from those between 13 and 15 years of age to use the fully personalized version of the site. Users living in Europe will have to be at least 16 years old before they can use the service.

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), a data protection watchdog, had previously managed to stop WhatsApp from changing its policies that allowed it to share its users' phone numbers and other data with Facebook.

Google reportedly tracks several data points for each user, including internet browsing and search history.

A new report from the Wall Street Journal explains how Google gathers up user data - through apps, web browsing, and more - much like Facebook does.

"As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans", it said.