On Thursday, Irish regulator – The Data Protection Commission (DPC) hit messaging app WhatsApp with a fine of 225 million euros, the equivalent of $266 million. The instant messaging app received the punitive fine out of concerns that it is sharing personal data with other Facebook apps. The conclusion was arrived at after the country’s regulator’s inquiry into the messaging app’s transparency.
WhatsApp revealed that it would appeal and thinks that the $266 million fine against it was “entirely disproportionate”.
According to the regulator, the charges against WhatsApp go as far back as 2018. The charges are also related to whether the instant messaging app followed through with the data rules about transparency set by the European Union in 2018. An official statement from the Irish regulator said that “this includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies”.
A statement by a WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company” 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. We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate”.
In the past, the DPC has received major criticisms from other European regulators. The DPC was deemed too slow in making its decisions concerning tech giants and not adequately fining them.
The DPC started its inquiry into WhatsApp’s transparency and data privacy policies in December of 2018. This came after a request from the European Data Protection Board requiring the Irish regulator to reassess and increase its proposed fine based on several quite lengthy factors. “Following this reassessment the DPC has imposed a fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp”, the DPC revealed.