WhatsApp was fined a record €225 million ($267 million) by Ireland’s data regulator for violating EU data privacy rules. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said today in an announcement that WhatsApp has not informed EU citizens enough about what it does with their data.
The regulator clarified that WhatsApp did not inform Europeans how their personal information is collected and used, nor how WhatsApp shares data with Facebook.
“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service,” they said. “We work to ensure that the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive, and we will continue to do so.”
“We disagree with today’s decision regarding the transparency we’ve provided to people since 2018 and the penalties are totally disproportionate,” added the spokesperson.
Through a FAQ on its website, WhatsApp states that it shares phone numbers, transaction data, business interactions, mobile device information, IP addresses and other information with Facebook. However, he says he does not share personal conversations, location data or call logs.
The WhatsApp fine is the largest fine the Irish regulator has ever imposed for breaches of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations. The GDPR requires companies to be clear and candid about how they use their customer data.
The legislation passed in April 2016 and applied since 2018 replaced a law previously called the Data Protection Directive and aims to harmonize the rules across the European bloc around 28 countries.
In July, Luxembourg’s data regulator fined Amazon €746 million for violating GDPR rules on the use of consumer data in advertising. Luxembourg’s National Data Protection Commission said that Amazon’s processing of personal data does not comply with the GDPR.
In another country, Google was also fined €50 million by France’s privacy regulator, CNIL, in 2019 for GDPR ad violations. The CNIL informed that it applied the fine for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the personalization of advertisements”.