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Ireland Fines WhatsApp 225 Mln Euro over Privacy


Thu 02 Sep 2021 | 07:18 PM
Omnia Ahmed

WhatsApp was fined a record 225 million euro ($266 million) by the Irish data protection regulator on Thursday after breaching E.U. privacy laws.

WhatsApp said the fine was “entirely disproportionate” and that it would appeal. However,  the Irish fine is significantly less than the record $886.6 million euro fine meted out to Amazon by the Luxembourg privacy agency in July.

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who has taken on Facebook in several privacy cases, revealed  the initial fine was 50 million euros.

In the same context, Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), the lead data privacy regulator for Facebook within the European Union, said the issues related to whether the app conformed in 2018 with E.U. data rules about transparency.

“This includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” the Irish regulator said in a statement.

Moreover, a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement the issues in question related to policies in place in 2018 and the company had provided comprehensive information.

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

E.U. privacy watchdog the European Data Protection Board said it had given several pointers to the Irish agency in July to address criticism from its peers for taking too long to decide in cases involving tech giants and for not fining them enough for any breaches.

It added that a WhatsApp fine should take into account Facebook’s turnover, noting that the company should be given three months instead of six months to comply.