The company cited “deficiencies” in data protection as the main reason, explaining that the apps access a user’s personal and potentially confidential data.
“In the case of these apps, access to the contact list cannot be restricted,” the company announced in a press release. “The responsibility for complying with data-protection laws is therefore shifted onto the users of these apps. The risks this poses in terms of data protection are not ones the company is willing to take. Furthermore, the company wants to protect its own employees and business partners.”
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect on May 25, which has strict rules on collecting, managing and processing data. But while it has officially launched, a report in Reuters found that most regulators said that they don’t have the funding or lack the powers to enforce the rules under the GDPR.
“We’ve realized that our resources were insufficient to cope with the new missions given by the GDPR,” Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, president of France’s CNIL data privacy watchdog, said.
Still, Continental is worried that the responsibility for compliance might shift towards app users. That means to meet GDPR requirements, a user of the messenger platforms would have to contact everyone in their contact list.
“For us, the security of technologies and the trust users place in them have a high priority. We are working on eradicating road-traffic accidents and are therefore calling for such a ‘Vision Zero’ for data traffic as well,” said Continental’s CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart, adding: “We think it is unacceptable to transfer to users the responsibility of complying with data protection laws. This is why we are turning to secure alternatives.”
In response to the report on the ban, Snap said in an email to CNBC that it was “completely up to the user whether they wish to grant access to contacts in Snapchat” and any uploaded data can be deleted at any time.