WhatsApp receives billion dollar fine for lack of transparency

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) applied on Thursday (2) the biggest fine of all time, 225 million euros (about R$ 1.4 billion), to WhatsApp. The penalty was imposed on the Facebook subsidiary after an investigation was completed into the messaging application’s transparency in relation to the sharing of its users’ personal data with other companies in Mark Zuckerberg’s conglomerate.

In addition to imposing the largest fine in its history, the DPC, which is the main “guardian” of the application of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (GDPR), also determined that the platform adapt its processing to the rules in force, taking a range of specific corrective actions.

“This includes information provided to data holders about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” the regulatory agency said in a statement. The messaging app also released a release calling the fine “totally disproportionate” and stating that the issues discussed in the investigation referred to policies in effect in 2018.

Why did the DPC have to increase the amount of the WhatsApp fine?

Source: CNIL France/Reproduction.Source: CNIL France/Reproduction.Source: CNIL France

The investigation completed by the DPC began three years ago, after the entry into force of the new GDPR of the European Union. The focus of the inspection was to find out if WhatsApp was correctly complying with the rules of providing transparent information regarding data sharing with Facebook companies.

Completed in December last year, the DPC investigation was sent to 40 European regulatory authorities, to be considered and endorsed, as determined by the GDPR. However, eight of those authorities considered the fine proposed by the Irish body (€50 million) to be too lenient, and the case ended up being submitted to the European Data Protection Council (EDPB), which issued its binding decision in July.

WhatsApp has already announced that it will appeal the decision.