Ireland fined Facebook’s WhatsApp a record 225 million euro ($266m) on Thursday for privacy breaches after the EU privacy watchdog pressured the country to require a tougher line with a much bigger penalty.
WhatsApp said the fine was “entirely disproportionate” which it might appeal. Still, Irish fine is significantly but the record $886.6m fine administered to Amazon by the Luxembourg privacy agency in July.
Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), which is that the lead data privacy regulator for Facebook within the ecu Union, said the problems associated with whether WhatsApp conformed in 2018 with EU data rules about transparency.
“This includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of data between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” Irish regulator said during a statement.
A WhatsApp spokesperson said during a statement that the problems in question associated with policies in situ in 2018.
“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and personal service. we’ve worked to make sure the knowledge we offer is transparent and comprehensive and can still do so,” the spokesperson said.
“We afflict the choice today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and therefore the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” the spokesperson’s statement said.
EU privacy watchdog the ecu Data Protection Board said it had given several tips that could Irish agency in July so as to deal with criticism from its peers for taking too long to make a decision in cases involving tech giants and for not fining them enough for any breaches.
It said a WhatsApp fine should take under consideration Facebook’s turnover which the corporate should tend three months rather than six months to comply.
Data regulators from eight other European countries triggered a dispute-resolution mechanism after Ireland shared its provisional decision in reference to the WhatsApp inquiry, which started in December 2018.
In July, a gathering of the ecu Data Protection Board issued a “clear instruction that required the DPC to reassess and increase its proposed fine on the idea of variety of things contained”, Irish regulator said.
“Following this reassessment, the DPC has imposed a fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp,” it said.
The Irish regulator also reprimanded and ordered WhatsApp to bring its processing into compliance by taking “a range of specified remedial actions”.
The Irish regulator had 14 major inquiries into Facebook and its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram open as of the top of last year.
Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who has taken on Facebook in several privacy cases, said he would monitor the company’s appeal closely.
“It is to be expected that this case will now be before Irish Courts for years and it’ll be interesting if the DPC is actively defending this decision before the Courts, because it was forced to form such a choice by its EU colleagues at the EDPB,” he said.