Meta has been hit with a hefty penalty of €5.5 million from the Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC) in Ireland due to its controversial methods for utilizing user data for enhancing its messaging platform WhatsApp. Consequently, it must holistically analyze the way it advertises through personal information, as well as inspecting thoroughly the legal principles behind these techniques. Despite disagreeing with the allegations made, WhatsApp is ready to take their dispute to court by appealing to defend their services which they deem compliant with the European Union’s privacy regulations.
Besides imposing this heavy fine, the DPC has commanded that WhatsApp networks are entirely compatible with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) within half a year or risk receiving harsher punishments. As several Big Tech entities have established their EU headquarters in Ireland, the country’s data watchdog plays the chief responsible of overseeing them.
The judgement emerged from a single person’s complaint protesting against how WhatsApp asked their users to agree to a new version of their terms of service when GDPR came into effect in May 2018. They alleged that this procedure compelled customers to permission processing their private info for improving service and security whether they wanted it or not, which is illegal according to GDPR rules.