Ireland imposes penalty of $266 mn on Facebook’s WhatsApp

Ireland has imposed a penalty of 225 million euro or $266 million on Facebook’s WhatsApp following an inquiry around sharing personal data with other Facebook companies, Reuters reported.
WhatsApp customers WhatsApp said the fine was entirely disproportionate and that it would appeal.

Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), which is the lead data privacy regulator for Facebook within the European Union, said the issues related to whether WhatsApp conformed in 2018 with EU data rules about transparency.

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

A WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement that the issues in question related to policies in place in 2018.

WhatsApp spokesperson said the messaging app is committed to providing a secure and private service. “We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.

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

Ireland’s DPC takes the lead on data privacy for Facebook because the company’s regional headquarters is in Dublin.

Data regulators from eight other European countries triggered a dispute resolution mechanism after Ireland shared its provisional decision in relation to the WhatsApp inquiry, which started in December 2018.

In July, a meeting of the European Data Protection Board issued a clear instruction that required the DPC to reassess and increase its proposed fine on the basis of a number of factors contained,” the Irish regulator said.

“Following this reassessment the DPC has imposed a fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp.”

The Irish regulator also imposed a reprimand along with an order for WhatsApp to bring its processing into compliance by taking remedial actions.

The Irish regulator had 14 major inquiries into Facebook and its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram open as of the end of last year.