*[Enwl-eng] You made it!

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Jun 18, 2021, 9:15:38 AMJun 18
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When we heard that WhatsApp was forcing its 2 billion users to either accept an abusive data policy or have their accounts deleted, the SumOfUs community came together to fight back -- and we won! 

Facebook-owned WhatsApp had announced that, from February this year, users around the world would be forced to agree to their data being collected and shared with the wider Facebook group, or lose access to the app!

Not only was this plan a huge abuse of corporate power, it was actually illegal! Thanks to the European Union’s strict data laws, Facebook had already decided not to roll out this policy version in the EU. But in countries including Brazil -- which has a similar data protection law -- it was pressing ahead regardless. While the EU was enjoying its full rights, Brazil and the rest of the world were not!

Brazil -- Facebook 's second biggest market -- was also set to be one of the countries worst affected by WhatsApp’s policy. Millions of Brazilians now depend entirely on the app for work and communication and faced a false choice between forfeiting their data and harming their livelihoods. How this played out would have global repercussions. So we sprung into action!

The fight was colossal. See below for a summary of our actions and the victories that reverberated around the world, winning greater protections for citizens everywhere:

"Thanks to the partnership between IDEC and SumOfUs, the Brazilian authorities took unprecedented action, and caused a cascading effect worldwide, especially in Latin America -- forcing Facebook and WhatsApp to back down and desist from forcing the more than 2 billion users to accept the app's abusive and illegal policy. Without SumOfUs, perhaps none of this would have happened. As members of the movement: be very proud. This is a historic victory against one of the most powerful companies in the world! We will continue the fight knowing that, in fact, when united, we can win the most difficult battles for the protection of citizens' rights around the world."

Diogo Moyses Digital Rights and Telecom Coordinator at IDEC, partner organization

 

A Global Appeal from over 200,000 people!

Over 200,000 people worldwide signed our petition demanding an end to Facebook’s coercive behaviour, and calling for users who reject the abusive policy to be allowed to keep their accounts.

petição

We filed complaints against Facebook and WhatsApp: and we won!

After weeks of searching -- and being rejected by several law firms too afraid of Facebook to accept the work -- we finally found a data protection lawyer willing to take the tech giant on. The stinging legal opinion she went on to write, highlighting the multiple ways in which the new policy violated the law, became the basis of a major legal push that ultimately tied Facebook’s hands!

SumOfUs took her legal findings and ran with them, filing administrative complaints against Facebook and WhatsApp before various competent authorities, who responded and thanked us personally for our efforts and the quality of the materials!!

We made incredible partnerships and built a global movement!

Until SumofUs got involved, Brazil’s Consumer Defense Institute (IDEC) was the only organization challenging this corporate abuse in the country. We formed a strong partnership, and together built a movement of more than 90 civil society organizations across Latin America, who united to take a public stand against the policy:

“Posicionamento

We were in all Brazil’s biggest newspapers!

For more than 6 weeks in a row our campaign was highlighted in the national press! Profiles, interviews and analyses -- featured in media across the political spectrum -- put our campaign firmly in the public eye, won new allies and ramped up the political pressure.“Matérias

The Authorities heard us!

All these efforts culminated in unprecedented coordination from federal authorities, who came together to demand a 90-day repeal of WhatsApp’s policy in Brazil. This was the first time something like this had happened in the country’s history! And it forced the company to do the same across the world!

Matérias

But we didn't stop there...

But we still weren’t satisfied. We needed to be sure that those who refused to accept the abusive policy would keep the right to continue using the app. And after another round of administrative actions, we won again! On May 28, WhatsApp finally announced that anyone who did not accept the new policy could continue using the app, worldwide.

Matérias

Nothing is achieved by walking alone. Along the way we have been inspired by and joined forces with warriors in India, the US, Germany, Brazil and elsewhere. The action of each partner organization, whether individual, collective, public, or otherwise, was crucial to this victory. We can never say that this was the fruit of just one organization: it was a collective, international effort, built step-by-step.

Together we showed the biggest companies in the world that there are limits to what they can do -- that they cannot simply bulldoze over our hard-won rights for the sake of bigger profits. And we made it clear that the people united will never be defeated.

With so much hope and gratitude for all you have done,
Flora and the team at SumOfUs

 
 

 

 


SumOfUs is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. We want to buy from, work for and invest in companies that respect the environment, treat their workers well and respect democracy. And we’re not afraid to stand up to them when they don’t.

Please help keep SumOfUs strong by chipping in $3

 
 
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2021 9:05 AM
Subject: You made it, Vladimir!

 

 


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