Ireland’s data protection authority has fined WhatsApp € 225 million for hiding how much personal data and of what kind it shares with its parent company, Facebook. The messaging application is opaque in this sense both for its users and for those who are not, but who also have personal information.
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In a decision communicated this Thursday and after an investigation dating back to 2018, the Irish regulator (CPD) has ruled that this practice violates the data protection rules of the European Union and has sanctioned WhatsApp with those 225 million. The figure is five times higher than what the CPD had originally proposed to the European Data Protection Council, made up of all the privacy agencies of the EU member countries.
Ireland is in charge of carrying out this type of investigation since WhatsApp’s European headquarters are located in its territory, due to the tax advantages it offers to technology multinationals. However, when the privacy violation investigated has also affected the rest of the EU countries, the CPD must agree on the amount of the fine with the rest of the European agencies. In the case of the fine for WhatsApp, no agreement was reached, as Ireland opined that the fine should be lower: between 30 and 50 million euros.
Finally, the European body has forced Ireland to raise the amount. “On July 28, 2021, the European Data Protection Council adopted a binding decision that was notified to the CPD. This decision contained a clear instruction that obliged the CPD to re-evaluate and increase its fine proposal based on a series of factors contained in the Council’s decision and, after this re-evaluation, the CPD has imposed a fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp, “the Irish agency explained.
We do not agree with today’s decision and the sanctions are totally disproportionate. We will appeal this decision
“In addition to the imposition of an administrative fine, the CPD has also imposed a reprimand along with an order for WhatsApp to bring its treatment into conformity by adopting a series of specific corrective measures,” he added.
Sources of the messaging application have wanted to emphasize to elDiario.es that the sanction comes due to the transparency before users of the data that WhatsApp transfers to Facebook, not because of the data transfer itself. In any case, the company denounces that “the sanctions are totally disproportionate” and advances that it will appeal the decision. “WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. We have worked to ensure that the information we provide is transparent and complete and we will continue to do so,” explained a spokeswoman.