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Ireland’s Data Regulator Fines WhatsApp €225 Million For Privacy Violations

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WhatsApp has been ordered to pay a massive fine by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner.

Ireland’s data regulator on Thursday fined WhatsApp €225 million for violating Europe’s privacy rules — a more than four-fold increase in the penalty compared to what the watchdog had initially proposed.

A Reuters report explains that an investigation found WhatsApp had breached stringent European Union data protection rules on transparency about sharing people’s data with other Facebook companies.

The Data Protection Commission said Thursday that it was also ordering WhatsApp to take “remedial actions” to change the way it communicates with users so that it complies with EU regulations. WhatsApp, which has 2 billion users worldwide, said the fine was out of proportion and it would appeal the decision.

“We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. “We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate.”

The multi-million euro fine is the second-highest to be levied under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018 and allows regulators to slap companies with penalties of up to 4 percent of their annual revenue if they mishandle people’s data. Luxembourg’s data protection authorities imposed a record-setting €746 million fine on Amazon in July.

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