EU data watchdog slaps $267m fine on Facebook owned WhatsApp

Facebook owned messaging app WhatsApp was slapped with a penalty of $267 million, accounting to €225 million in Europe’s one of the native currencies. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) was the authority to pronounce the decision, as the photo & video sharing app failed to live up to the standards required by EU GDPR.

Irish DPC announced that the messaging app was not specifically clear in its data auditing report on how it was processing its user data under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that came into effect May 2018.

One of the important principal of GDPR is that companies processing data should be clear in what they are gathering, and how they will purposefully use it and be honest for storing and processing of user information.

In a 266-page detailed report, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) clearly specified that the app used mobile data stored on a user device for other purposes. Like ingesting a user’s phone book that contains personal data related to their friends and relatives.

Reacting to the slapped penalty, a statement issued by WhatsApp states that it is committed to provide secure and private service and termed the announced penalty as totally disproportionate.

However, the world famous messaging app announced it will abide by the Irish data watch dog’s decision of maintaining transparency

The European Consumer Organization, shortly dubbed as BEUC, termed the penalty slapped onto the Facebook owned subsidiary as “well overdue”.

Another privacy advocacy group named ‘noyb’ has welcomed the decision and sarcastically termed it to be equivalent to the cost of a parking ticket for Facebook’s billions worth business empire.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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