Due to a breach of the EU-wide data protection regulations GDPR, the messenger service WhatsApp was fined a three-digit million sum by an authority in Ireland. This is the second-highest fine imposed in the EU area to date.
WhatsApp is asked to pay
Due to a breach of the GDPR guidelines, WhatsApp must pay a fine of 225 million euros, according to a decision by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) in Ireland. The corresponding investigation was already initiated around three years ago, as reported by Irish state broadcaster RTE.
Originally, the DPC had envisaged a fine of “only” €50 million. However, after other European authorities were given access to the investigation in December 2020, as provided for in the GDPR guidelines, this penalty has now been increased to 225 million euros.
The background to this is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018 and regulates the exchange of personal information between users and companies. At the same time, WhatsApp is required to realign its data collection in accordance with the GDPR.
Company to appeal
However, WhatsApp does not agree with the penalty payment and announced that it will appeal to the Supreme Court of Ireland or the European Court of Justice. In a corresponding case, the main issue is the amount of the penalty, after WhatsApp Ireland had previously set aside about 77.5 million euros for a possible penalty payment.
“We disagree with today’s decision in relation to the transparency we provided to users in 2018 and the penalties are completely disproportionate. We will challenge this decision,” a WhatsApp spokesperson is quoted as saying.
The current penalty was enforced against the will of the DPC, which acts as the lead regulator for WhatsApp in Europe, he said. However, it still only represents 0.08 percent of the Facebook group’s revenue. The GDPR, however, provides for penalties of up to 4 percent of turnover.