ICO investigates WhatsApp-Facebook data sharing plan

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WhatsApp’s new policy of data sharing with parent company Facebook is being investigated by the UK Information Commissioner (ICO).

Data such as sign in habits and user phone numbers will now be liable to sharing with Facebook, despite WhatsApp’s previous pledge to remain independent.

Due to the scale of the changes, and their potential effect on consumers, the ICO has requested further information regarding what will be shared.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said, "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."

Data protection law does not generally require organisations to obtain the ICO’s prior permission for changes they choose to implement. However, all changes must fall within data protection law.

A breach of the Data Protection Act can result in a fine of up to £500,000.