sunny.png
Monday October 18th, 2021 9:15AM

Irish watchdog fines WhatsApp $267M after EU privacy probe

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Ireland's privacy watchdog has fined WhatsApp a record 225 million euros ($267 million) after an investigation found it breached stringent European Union data protection rules on transparency about sharing people's data with other Facebook companies.

The Data Protection Commission said Thursday that it was also ordering WhatsApp to take “remedial actions” to change the way it communicates with users so that it complies with EU regulations. WhatsApp, which has 2 billion users worldwide, said the fine was out of proportion and it would appeal the decision.

The watchdog's announcement wraps up an investigation into the Facebook-owned messaging service that opened in December 2018, after the EU rules, known as General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect. It's the second penalty - and the biggest - issued by the Irish watchdog under GDPR. Last year it fined Twitter 450,000 euros for a security breach.

“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service," the company said in a press statement. “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.”

The commission said the case examined whether Facebook followed GDPR requirements to be transparent for both users and those who didn’t use its service, including how people's data is processed between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies. In other words, it focused on how much detail was provided in its privacy policy, which has since been updated.

WhatsApp has faced criticism that its privacy policies are too long and complicated, but the ruling could mean that they get even longer and more detailed.

Under GDPR, the Irish watchdog acts as the lead regulator in cross-border data privacy cases for WhatsApp and many other big tech companies that have their European headquarters in Dublin.

The Irish penalty is also the second biggest issued in the EU under GDPR, behind Luxembourg's 746 million euro fine to Amazon in July for data protection violations.

A draft of the Irish decision, which reportedly called for a 50 million euro fine, was shared with regulators in other EU member states so that their feedback could be taken into consideration. However, in a sign of the complexity involved in cross-border privacy cases and the backroom wrangling need to resolve them, eight national privacy watchdogs objected, so the case was sent to the EU's independent oversight body for GDPR, which beefed up the penalty to 225 million euros.

The Irish Data Protection Commission still has open about two dozen other investigations into big tech companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook, including a second case involving WhatsApp.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Death toll rises after Ida’s remnants hit Northeast
Authorities say at least nine deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey as relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the New York City area into a state of emergency
7:46AM ( 14 minutes ago )
After over a decade, Jane Campion returns to film
After over a decade away from film, New Zealand's Jane Campion returns to the form with “The Power of the Dog,” a sweeping but intimate family drama set in the isolated hills of 1925 Montana and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons
7:42AM ( 17 minutes ago )
At least 8 deaths as Hurricane Ida’s remnants hit Northeast
Authorities say at least eight deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey as relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the New York City area into a state of emergency
7:33AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
EXPLAINER: Congress asks tech companies for Jan. 6 records
A House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection has requested that telecommunications and social media companies preserve the personal communications of hundreds of people who may have somehow been connected to the attack
6:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: UK says sees scope for dialogue with Taliban
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary says that although the U.K. won’t soon recognize the Taliban’s government, “there is an important scope” for dialogue with Afghanistan’s new rulers
6:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
EU pushes for more autonomy amid Afghanistan fallout
European Union ministers are mulling over ways to beef up the 27-nation bloc's strategic autonomy and improve its capacity to respond to future crises
6:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Death toll rises after Ida’s remnants hit Northeast
Authorities say at least nine deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey as relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the New York City area into a state of emergency
7:46AM ( 14 minutes ago )
After over a decade, Jane Campion returns to film
After over a decade away from film, New Zealand's Jane Campion returns to the form with “The Power of the Dog,” a sweeping but intimate family drama set in the isolated hills of 1925 Montana and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons
7:42AM ( 17 minutes ago )
At least 8 deaths as Hurricane Ida’s remnants hit Northeast
Authorities say at least eight deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey as relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the New York City area into a state of emergency
7:33AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Hurricane Ida's aftermath, recovery uneven across Louisiana
Four days after Hurricane Ida struck, the storm's aftermath and progress in recovering from it are being felt unevenly across Louisiana
7:33AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Greek health care workers protest compulsory vaccinations
Hundreds of Greek health care workers accompanied by ambulances with sirens blaring have marched through central Athens to protest regulations mandating coronavirus vaccines for anyone working in their sector
7:25AM ( 34 minutes ago )