Irish body fines WhatsApp $267M for failure to disclose how it collects data

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An Irish watchdog on Thursday said it has levied a record fine against WhatsApp – close to $270 million – for failing to disclose to users in the European Union how it collects their personal information and what they do with it.

According to Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the app company violated EU data privacy rules by withholding the information.

WhatsApp was fined €225 million, the equivalent of $267 million.

The watchdog also said WhatsApp didn’t inform users how it shares data with parent company Facebook. The commission imposed a reprimand and ordered WhatsApp to come into compliance.

Thursday’s fine is the largest ever imposed by the commission for violations of the EU’s data privacy law.

WhatsApp says it disagrees with the commission’s findings.

“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service,” a company spokesperson said, according to television reports.

“We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so.”

“The penalties are entirely disproportionate.”

Thursday’s fine is the second regulatory action against Facebook in the past week. Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint that accused the social company in a “buy-or-bury” scheme against competitors to maintain dominance online.

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