Due to violations of the GDPR, the Messenger service WhatsApp was ordered to pay a fine of 225 million euros in September 2021. In a new ruling, the company’s lawsuit has now been dismissed. However, that raises questions.
WhatsApp lawsuit: million euro fine remains
Due to a breach of the EU-wide data protection conditions DSGVO, the Messenger service WhatsApp was ordered by an authority in Ireland in September 2021 to pay a fine of 225 million euros.
The original €50 million fine quickly turned into a much larger sum after other European authorities gained insight into the investigation. A little later, in November 2021, they fought back against the fine and declared the sanctions imposed disproportionate.
In a new ruling by the EU court on the case with the file number T-709/21, it now came, almost exactly a year after the lawsuit filed by WhatsApp to a ruling that should not make the Messenger service belonging to the Meta Group happy.
EU court rejects complaint by WhastApp
The ruling by the European Data Protection Authority (EDSA) on which the case is based cannot be appealed directly to the EU, according to the summary of the ruling.
However, the decision can be reviewed before a national court, which can then also refer questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling with a corresponding final action.
Furthermore, the EU court informs that the contested decision is only a preparatory act, which – unlike the decision and the penalty from Ireland – is not to be directly enforced against WhatsApp.
“Next, the court states that WhatsApp is not directly affected by the decision imposed,” the summary said. It is not yet the final step of the full procedure for the General Data Protection Regulation, it said. WhatsApp can now also appeal against this decision before the ECJ.
However, this also begs a question: If a body like the EDSA can make a binding decision that penalizes a company like Meta, but the company cannot appeal the decision because it is not directly directed against the company, is there any way for the affected company to appeal such a decision?