WhatsApp Penalized  5.5 Million Euro Fine by EU Privacy Authority

A 3D printed whatsapp logo and keyboard buttons placed on a computer motherboard [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The chief EU privacy regulator in Ireland, the Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), imposed a 5.5 million euro ($5.95 million) fine on Meta’s (META.O) WhatsApp subsidiary on Thursday for a second violation of the EU’s privacy laws.

Following a similar directive it issued this month to Meta’s other two main platforms, Facebook and Instagram, the DPC also instructed WhatsApp to review how it uses personal data for service improvements. That directive stated that Meta must review the legal justification for its use of personal data to target advertising.

According to a WhatsApp spokeswoman, the company plans to appeal the ruling and is adamant that the way its service is used complies with both technological and legal requirements.

Due to the fact that many of the largest technological companies in the world have their European headquarters in Ireland, the Irish watchdog, which is the primary EU regulator for them, gave WhatsApp six months to bring its processing activities into line.

In September 2021, the DPC penalized WhatsApp 225 million euros for violations that happened in May 2018—the same time frame as the complaint that was addressed on Thursday. WhatsApp is currently pursuing an appeal against that fine in Irish courts.

Ten further inquiries into Meta’s services are open, and the authority has already penalized Meta 1.3 billion euros.

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