The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI from the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information) issued a three-month emergency ban on Tuesday, based on the General Data Protection Regulation. The German authority will pursue a binding EU-wide decision by the European Data Protection Council (EDPB).
Johannes Caspar, head of the authority, said the mandate was aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of the nearly 60 million WhatsApp users in Germany. There were also fears that their data could be used to influence voters' decisions in the country's September federal election.
In response, Facebook said it was considering filing an objection to the ban. A WhatsApp spokesman said the order was based on a misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of the WhatsApp update and therefore had no legal basis. They also added that the order "will not affect the ongoing circulation of information".