WhatsApp is in trouble again.
Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp was ordered to pay a 225 million euro ($ 266 million) fine for not being transparent about how it handled personal information, its first fine under the European Union’s enhanced data protection law.
The Irish Data Protection Commission, the leading Silicon Valley privacy watchdog in Europe, said it found violations in the way WhatsApp explained how it processed user and non-user data, as well as how data was shared. data between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies.
The EU general data protection regulation was responsible for the fine.
The fine comes weeks after Amazon.com Inc. received a record 746 million euro penalty in Luxembourg, where it is based in Europe, for processing personal data in violation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
Under the three-year-old GDPR law, authorities have the power to fine companies up to 4% of their annual sales. The rules put watchdogs based in the EU hub chosen by a company in charge of overseeing them. But the Irish regulator, which has at least 28 open privacy probes targeting tech giants like Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced mounting criticism for taking too long to conclude its cases.
A WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed that they will appeal the decision.
“We do not agree with today’s decision regarding the transparency that we provide to people in 2018 and the penalties are completely disproportionate,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson. “We will appeal this decision.”
The Irish authority said it would also order the courier to take corrective action to bring its data processing communication into compliance. This includes clarifying how users can lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority.
The Irish watchdog has a few plans for WhatsApp.
WhatsApp announced in an Irish regulatory filing in November that it set aside € 77.5 million to pay possible fines from at least two investigations by Ireland’s data protection watchdog.
The European Data Protection Board, a panel of EU data authorities, said in a statement Thursday that it pushed for higher privacy fine for WhatsApp leading to the penalty imposed by Ireland.
An initial draft of the fine decision by the Irish watchdog stumbled amid several objections from EU counterparts, including “the adequacy of the planned corrective measures.”
Thursday’s fine also comes amid increased pressure on WhatsApp over policy changes it announced in January. It was forced to delay the review until May after a backlash from users and regulators about what data the messaging service collects and how it shares that information with its parent Facebook.
The European Data Protection Board, a panel of EU authorities, said in July that Facebook’s practices linked to WhatsApp data should be examined “as a matter of priority” by the Irish privacy watchdog.