WhatsApp fined EUR225mln by Irish data privacy watchdog

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WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), has been fined EUR225mln by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) following a probe into the company’s transparency in the sharing of personal information.


The investigation, which started in 2018, included information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies, the DCP said.


WhatsApp said the fine was “entirely disproportionate” and that it would appeal, according to a report by Reuters, citing a spokesperson.


“We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” the spokesperson said.


The DCP is the EU’s lead regulator for Facebook because the company’s regional head office is in Ireland.


The DCP said it had submitted a draft decision in the WhatsApp investigation to the other EU regulators in December last year. However, eight of the regulators objected to the decision, triggering a dispute resolution process.


On 28 July 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted a binding decision with a clear instruction that required the DPC to reassess and increase its proposed fine. Following this reassessment, “the DPC has imposed a fine of EUR225mln on WhatsApp”, the Irish regulator said.


In addition to the fine, the DPC said it has also imposed a reprimand along with an order for WhatsApp “to bring its processing into compliance by taking a range of specified remedial actions”.

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