On June 10, 2021, a meeting was convened in the Senate to discuss the impact of the new privacy policies of Facebook’s online messaging service (“WhatsApp”)..
The meeting was called by the president of the Systems, Media and Freedom of Expression Committee, Alfredo Luenzo. Were also invited Rodrigo Luchinsky, president of the National Commission for the Defense of Competition, and Martín Becerra, CONICET researcher. Pablo Bello, Facebook Group’s Director of Private Messaging in Latin America, attended the meeting on behalf of Facebook and WhatsApp. During the meeting, the speakers expressed their position on the update of WhatsApp’s privacy policies.
Pablo Bello explained that the update merely affected the relationship between WhatsApp users and companies that have implemented chatbots in the application. Bello assured that the update aimed to generate greater transparency in relation to practices that WhatsApp has been developing for several years. Bello also expressed that the application’s operation has not been modified by the new policy at all.
Rodrigo Luchinsky stated that currently the National Commission for the Defense of Competition has been examining whether WhatsApp abuses of dominant position, which involves disproportionate data collection that affects consumers and is able to exclude competition. Luchinsky clarified that there is an intersection between the legal goods protected by personal data protection law and antitrust law.
Finally, researcher Martin Becerra expressed his concern about the difficulty of preserving different rights in an encrypted messaging service such as WhatsApp. Indeed, the researcher exposed the complexity to ensure the protection of personal data and to avoid some cybercrime.
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