The full enforcement of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has been delayed in Brazil as local authorities investigate the data privacy implications to users of the app’s new rules.

The decision follows a series of discussions between the owner of the messaging app Facebook and Brazil’s National Data Protection Authority (ANPD), national consumer body Senacon, the Federal Prosecution Service and competition watchdog Cade. Under the agreement, WhatsApp users will still be able to utilize the service and all its features for three months before agreeing to the new policy.

In a statement, the Brazilian authorities noted that “WhatsApp has informed that it will not close any account, and that no user in Brazil will lose access to the application’s features in the 90-day period after May 15 as a result of the enforcement of the new privacy policy and the new terms of service”.

Ensuring the continuity of service was the most urgent point the Brazilian authorities sought to address before the new rules, built around business chats, were introduced on Saturday (15). Within the next three months, the new terms will be under further scrutiny: the goal is to establish whether the policies fail to meet the requirements set out in the Brazilian general data protection regulations.

If Brazil’s authorities conclude WhatsApp is not complying with the local legislation, actions ranging from warnings to fines may be applicable as the sanctions under the Brazilian data protection rules will be enforced from August 2021.

While the investigations continue, Brazilian users who continue to use the app without agreeing to the new privacy policy will be notified of the changes underway. The reminder will become persistent after three months, according to the deadline negotiated by the Brazilian government with WhatsApp, at which point some features of the messaging tool may be limited.

According to the Brazilian authorities, Facebook said it is “available to discuss and provide clarifications regarding the recommendations issued by the ANPD and any other issues related to the update of the [privacy] terms of the application.”

The agreement follows a request from the Brazilian government organizations for a postponement of the introduction of the new privacy policy. The document issued last week by the Brazilian authorities stated that the privacy policy and data treatment practices outlined by WhatsApp may represent a breach of the personal data rights of the messaging service’s users.

From the consumer protection and defense standpoint, the agencies noted that WhatsApp failed to provide clear information in relation to what types of data will be treated by WhatsApp and the purpose of such procedures.

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