The commission’s investigation began on December 10, 2018, and examined whether the messaging service had fulfilled the GDPR transparency obligations regarding the provision of information and the transparency of such information to both its service users and non-users.
This includes information provided to data subjects about information processing between the Service and other Facebook companies.
After a lengthy and thorough investigation, the commission submitted a draft decision to all relevant supervisory authorities in December 2020.
The committee subsequently received objections from eight oversight agencies. The Commission was unable to reach consensus with all relevant supervisory authorities on the subject matter of the objections and launched the dispute settlement process on 3 June 2021.
On 28 July 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted a binding decision and the Committee was notified of this decision.
This decision contained clear instructions that required the Commission to re-evaluate and increase the proposed fine based on a number of factors set out in the European Data Protection Council decision.
After this reassessment, the Irish Data Protection Commission imposed a fine of 225 million euros ($267 million) on WhatsApp.
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WhatsApp fined $267 million in Europe
The commission noted that the service did not properly inform EU citizens about how it handled their personal data. Including how this information is shared with the parent company.
In addition, the commission also imposed a reprimand along with the service order to make its treatment compliant by taking a set of specific corrective actions.
This results in its compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law in Europe. Which governs how tech companies collect and use data in the European Union.
The GDPR law went into effect in May 2018. The messaging service was one of the first companies to have privacy issues under the regulations.
A WhatsApp spokesperson said the company is appealing the decision. Furthermore, WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. We have worked to ensure that the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and continue to do so. And we don’t agree with the decision on the transparency we gave people in 2018 and the penalties are completely disproportionate.
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