Germany Opens Probe Into Messenger Services

The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry into messenger services under consumer protection law.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt stated, “As a communication channel messenger services have become an integral part of consumers’ everyday lives. However, it is questionable whether and to what extent these services protect personal data. We would like to clarify this issue and provide information on possible violations of consumer rights. Furthermore, in most cases it is not possible for users to communicate with each other by using different messenger services. We will therefore also examine whether and to what extent improved interoperability could play a role in, for example, the consumers’ choice of suppliers which offer better data protection.”

Messenger services enable consumers to send text messages, photos, and videos or make telephone calls via the internet. Surveys and media reports have repeatedly pointed out possible violations of consumer protection law in this sector. In some cases, the way in which established messenger services manage the personal data of their users could be in violation of applicable data protection rules.

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