The news: Facebook-owned WhatsApp was fined $270 million for breaking the European Union’s data privacy rules, per The Verge. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) found that WhatsApp failed to properly inform EU citizens how it handles their personal data, particularly how it shares that data with parent company Facebook.
- The GDPR came into effect in May 2018, and WhatsApp was one of the first companies hit with a privacy lawsuit under the regulatory regime.
WhatsApp will appeal the decision. “We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Verge.
- WhatsApp’s feuds with privacy regulators over its data gathering and sharing make a case for breaking up Big Tech companies that funnel user information from one service to serve the advertising and monetization goals of another.
Dig deeper: For a more granular look at WhatsApp’s history of privacy entanglements, read Sara M. Watson’s report: WhatsApp: A case study in consumer trust