Ireland Fines €225m to WhatsApp for Violating EU Data Protection Rules

WhatsApp messaging platform Facebook has been fined €225 million (£193.4 million / US$266.6 million) by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) for violating the European Union (EU) European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The WhatsApp fines is one of the largest sanctions imposed under GDPR and the largest in Ireland to date. It came at the end of a December 2018 investigation alleging that WhatsApp failed to fulfill its transparency obligations regarding the provision of information and its transparency to users and non-users of its service.

It contains information of data subjects about processing of the data between WhatsApp and some other Facebook offerings

As the leading WhatsApp supervisory authority in the EU, the DPC presented a draft decision for its investigation nearly 12 months ago.

However, following objections from other stakeholders in Europe (CSA), the dispute resolution procedure has been initiated.

This procedure was approved following the adoption of a binding decision by the European Data Protection Council (EDPB) on 28 July 2021.

The binding ruling, which can be read in full here, instructs the DPC to significantly increase the WhatsApp fines already imposed.

DPC also reprimanded and ordered WhatsApp to align its data processing activities with a series of corrective actions.

WhatsApp, which has provided more than 70 million euros in anticipation of the fine, said in a press release that it disagreed with the sanctions imposed by the DPC, which it described as “totally disproportionate”. The company has done everything possible to offer consumers transparent and comprehensive information and will appeal the decision.

John Maggie on WhatsApp Fine

John Maggie, who leads the privacy, privacy and security practices of Irish law firm DLA Piper, said: “The decision is not just for the DPC and demonstrates the complexity and dispute resolution process in the EU.

In a statement, Schrems said he would monitor the case closely as the case is likely to remain pending in Irish courts for some time.

“WhatsApp will definitely oppose the decision,” he said. “In Irish justice, this means it can take years before the fine is actually paid. In our case, we often feel that DPC is more about the headlines than the actual work.

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