WhatsApp hit with record $267 million fine in Ireland

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in iPhone
Ireland has issued its highest ever fine for breaches of GDPR privacy regulations -- and Europe's second highest -- to Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

WhatsApp on iPhone
WhatsApp on iPhone


Messaging service WhatsApp has had its share of security issues, including spyware vulnerability. However, the Irish Data Protection Commission has now fined it primarily over its general privacy policies, and how it allegedly was not sufficiently clear about how users' data would be used.

The $257 million fine is the highest that Ireland has imposed over these issues. It's also the second highest GDPR fine ever imposed by the European Union, exceeded only by Amazon's $887 million in July 2021.

According to BBC News, Facebook's WhatsApp company objects to the fine, and its severity. Just as Amazon is doing, it plans to appeal.

"WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service," a spokesperson told BBC News. "We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so."

"We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate," continued the spokesperson.

As required by GDPR rules, the Irish Data Protection Commission only issued the fine after consultation with other EU countries. Reportedly, eight such countries, including Germany, France, and Italy, objected.

Chief among their disagreements were which specific elements of GPDR had been breached, and also how the fine was calculated. Reportedly, the overall European Data Protection Board told Ireland to "reassess" its findings, and set "a higher fine amount" than the $36 million to $59 million it was planning.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    Facebook, like Google, is a marketing company. Like Google, they profit from knowing a lot about us. They can paint a pretty detailed picture based on our FB activities, and through cookies they track us on the internet. But they couldn’t know what we did beyond the internet. So they buy WhatsApp. Now they have our phone numbers. Every time we give a company our Tel number, they sell it on to marketing firms, who sell it on to FB. Now they know what we buy in supermarkets, pharmacies, the clubs we join etc. 

    No doubt this is what’s troubling the EU, because FB will be motivated to keep that part of WhatsApp’s role hidden. Google, on the other hand, already have your number if you use Android. 
    viclauyycVermelhowatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,107member
    Alex_V said:
    Facebook, like Google, is a marketing company. Like Google, they profit from knowing a lot about us. They can paint a pretty detailed picture based on our FB activities, and through cookies they track us on the internet. But they couldn’t know what we did beyond the internet. So they buy WhatsApp. Now they have our phone numbers. Every time we give a company our Tel number, they sell it on to marketing firms, who sell it on to FB. Now they know what we buy in supermarkets, pharmacies, the clubs we join etc. 

    No doubt this is what’s troubling the EU, because FB will be motivated to keep that part of WhatsApp’s role hidden. Google, on the other hand, already have your number if you use Android. 
    Thing is, the EU cartel watchdogs explicitly made it a condition of Facebook's WhatsApp purchase that WA data NOT be shared with Facebook. Everybody knew that it was bullshit, because this was precisely the reason for the acquisition in the first place, but FB signed off on it, and I sincerely hope they get fucked to the full extent of cartel law when they break it. 
    viclauyycAlex_VCalamanderVermelhoMplsPFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    I’ve refused to join WhatsApp so far despite contacts who prefer it for communication.  
    Why not just use Apple messages (with SMS support for the dweebs)?  My Japanese wife uses Line, which I reluctantly signed on to for when she travels. 
    FB messenger is an evil I deal with for distant contacts especially foreign. Always move people over where possible.  The now college kid uses it with buddies for laughs, but not with me.

    Naive question here. What(app) the hell is the advantage of it?  Seems to be just for trivial shit that auto deletes.  I guess some limited privacy for those in nefarious pursuits.  Maybe it’s a storage saver for media rich exchanges?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,437member
    Vermelho said:
    I’ve refused to join WhatsApp so far despite contacts who prefer it for communication.  
    Why not just use Apple messages (with SMS support for the dweebs)?  My Japanese wife uses Line, which I reluctantly signed on to for when she travels. 
    FB messenger is an evil I deal with for distant contacts especially foreign. Always move people over where possible.  The now college kid uses it with buddies for laughs, but not with me.

    Naive question here. What(app) the hell is the advantage of it?  Seems to be just for trivial shit that auto deletes.  I guess some limited privacy for those in nefarious pursuits.  Maybe it’s a storage saver for media rich exchanges?
    My wife has family in Europe and many/most of them use WhatsApp, even if they have an iPhone. I think the main advantage of it is the fact that everyone uses it. 

    I’ve never used an Android phone, but my guess is for android users it gives the advantage of iMessage. I used to use it some and at the time it seemed to suck the battery on my iPhone. 

    I refuse to use it for the reasons you stated. Of course I refuse to use Facebook, too, but that doesn’t stop everyone else from using it. 
    watto_cobra
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