WhatsApp’s Pragmatic GDPR Parental Permission Policy

April 30, 2018 10:15 am Geraldine Strawbridge

As the countdown to the introduction of GDPR edges closer, there is a significant increase in activity from tech giants such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The most notable to date is the announcement from instant messaging app WhatsApp that they will raise the minimum age for underage users to 16 ahead of the GDPR.

This ‘cutting the guardian knot’ approach, quickly solves the problem of parental permission for the processing of data belonging to children and young teens. This approach to data protection is more stringent than its parent company Facebook’s approach to the problem.

This issue of parental consent will continue to be one of the thorny problems for social media giants over the next few years. At the current time, technology firms rely on “age-walls” where the person seeking access must confirm they are over the minimum age.

Apart from being an inconvenience to a young person, this approach is a stop gap measure for privacy at best. As GDPR becomes a business norm, social technology organisations will have to provide greater levels of age validation in order to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations.

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