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The Big Tech Show: Questioning the regulator in charge of Facebook

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Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

This week’s guest is Helen Dixon, Europe’s most powerful tech regulator. She and Adrian talk about Facebook, Whatsapp, fines, Brexit, data rights and a whole host of other things.

Among the revelations are that Whatsapp will not be sharing more data with Facebook in the EU anytime soon.

Helen Dixon says that there has “been no progress” between Facebook and the Irish regulator on seeking allowance for Facebook to integrate Whatsapp with Facebook in a closer way, as it is poised to do in the US.

The tech giant has been trying for years to find a way to make more money out of its subsidiary, which has tighter privacy controls than the tech giant’s main social platform.

But Ms Dixon’s office has steadfastly refused to allow cross-sharing of data across the EU, citing a lack of satisfactory explanation from Facebook around the legal basis of the data sharing.

“I don't doubt that Facebook hasn't given up on the idea of the data sharing,” she said. “But nonetheless, there has been no progress in terms of WhatsApp convincing the DPC that as the controller of the data of users of WhatsApp, it should share it with Facebook. And they've made no substantive approach to us. So it really hasn't progressed. There's no sharing of EU user data between the controllers.”

Last month, Whatsapp saw 20m users leave for rival messaging apps when it informed users outside the EU that they needed to agree to Whatsapp sharing more account information with Facebook for the ultimate purpose of cross-service advertising.

Helen Dixon is talking to Adrian on the same day that her office published its annual report, outlining several investigations and data breach statistics.

The Big Tech Show is in association with Sky Broadband.

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