Facebook Ordered to Stop Collecting Data on WhatsApp Users in Germany

The city of Hamburg’s data protection commissioner has ordered Facebook to stop collecting data on WhatsApp users in Germany.

This marks the first time a privacy watchdog has intervened since WhatsApp announced in August it would begin to share user information with Facebook, which owns the messaging app.

The regulator is also asking Facebook to delete all information it has already received from WhatsApp.

“It has to be their decision, whether they want to connect their account with Facebook,” Hamburg data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement. “Therefore, Facebook has to ask for their permission in advance. This has not happened.”

Facebook says it is willing to work with the regulator to address concerns.

There are more than 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.