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WhatsApp fined nearly $270 million for violating EU’s privacy rules

By Sanuj Bhatia September 2, 2021, 7:45 am
WhatsApp

It’s a hard day at the office for Facebook. First, its photo-sharing service Instagram went down for several hours, and now, according to a new report, European Union regulators fined its instant messaging subsidiary, WhatsApp, for nearly a whopping $266 million.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has been fined €225 million, or $266 million, for failing to tell the bloc’s residents enough about what it does with their data. The fine was issued by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission on behalf of a board representing all of its EU counterparts. EU says “WhatsApp didn’t live up to requirements” to tell Europeans how the data is collected and used.

In addition to the fine, EU regulators have asked WhatsApp to “move” its privacy policies under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provisions.

In a statement to WSJ, WhatsApp’s executive said: “WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so. We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate.”

Irelands DPC has taken the lead to fine WhatsApp. Other EU regulators have criticized DPC in the past for taking too long to reach decisions involving tech giants and for not fining them enough for any breaches. “Following this reassessment the DPC has imposed a fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp,” it said.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp announced that it is making its controversial privacy policy optional, however, that hasn’t affected the EU regulators who’ve fined the messaging service on a different ground.

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