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Ireland fines WhatsApp €5.5 million for violating GDPR.

Published: 2023-01-21

The Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) imposed a fine of €5.5 million on the legal entity WhatsApp Ireland for violating the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ordered the administration of the messenger to eliminate this violation within six months.

The Irish office of the DPC has proven to be the top regulator in Europe for US tech giants due to the region's lowest tax rate of 12.5%. The agency’s decision was made based on a complaint filed by a German citizen back in 2018 — he was dissatisfied with the fact that the messenger did not actually give him the opportunity to refuse the updated terms of service until May 25, 2018, when the GDPR came into force.

WhatsApp showed users an updated text of the terms of service that were contrary to the GDPR, and offered to either accept them or stop using the messenger. The €5.5 million fine is unlikely to be a significant burden for messenger company Meta, but it is indicative of strong European law enforcement in this area: DPC recently fined the company €400 million for GDPR violations committed while collecting data for targeted advertising , and gave the company three months to correct the violations. The agency accused the company of insufficient transparency in explaining to users the mechanisms for collecting personal data: general information is provided in the policy with excessive details, and information that is significant to users, on the contrary, is presented in an unacceptably compressed form.