Tue, Dec
55 New Articles

Whatsapp Faces Second Largest Fine for Breaching GDPR Rules

Whatsapp Faces Second Largest Fine for Breaching GDPR Rules

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

On 2 September 2021 Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced a 225 million euro fine for WhatsApp and ordered the company to amend its practices within three months. It is the largest fine ever from the DPC, and the second-highest under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The fine preceded the instruction to WhatsApp to make updates in its already massive privacy policy and change how it notifies users about sharing their data. This will bring the company into compliance with GDPR which governs how tech companies collect and use data in the EU area.

The mentioned fine relates to the investigation which began in 2018, about whether WhatsApp had been transparent enough concerning the provision of information and the transparency of that information to users of WhatsApp’s service. This also includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook Inc companies.

Following a comprehensive investigation, the Irish data authority submitted a draft decision to all concerned supervisory authorities under Article 60 of GDPR, in December 2020. In this regard, on 28 July 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted a binding decision and this decision was notified to the DPC in Ireland. This decision contained instructions that required the DPC to reconsider and increase its proposed fine based on several factors contained in the EDPB’s decision. In assessing how the fine to be imposed against WhatsApp should be calculated, the EDPB ordered the DPC to factor in the turnover of all the component companies falling under the umbrella of Facebook Inc, WhatsApp’s parent company. It also clarified that the total turnover of a company is a factor that can be considered for ensuring the actual level of penalty decided upon is “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”, as the regulation requires, and is not just relevant for determining what the maximum possible penalty that can be imposed under the GDPR is. Following the decision of EDPB, the DPC found that WhatsApp failed to disclose information under its GDPR transparency obligations and imposed a fine of 225 million euros.

In a statement by which WhatsApp representative responded to the DPC’s decision, WhatsApp denied all stated in a decision and also announced that the company will appeal the decision.

The mentioned decision that arose from the Ireland Data Protection authority shows how great consequences could be in case of GDPR infringement, and sends a strong message to all companies stated in the EU area to comply with its rules.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

By Katarina Zivkovic, Senior Associate, and Miroslav Ravic, Trainee, Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic

Serbia Knowledge Partner

The oldest full service commercial law firm in Serbia, founded in 1991, JPM with three decades of experience in assisting local and international businesses presence and growth not only in Serbia but throughout the SEE region.

We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge in every industrial and corporate sector, from energy to banking, transport, manufacturing and telecommunications, while remaining true to a pioneering spirit that has always drawn us to follow the latest trends and developments in providing of our services to clients. Today we use the latest legal tech available in serving our clients and are expanding our services to clients from growing industries such as renewable energy, IT and life sciences, by offering innovative solutions and a pro-active approach to broaching new grounds.

Our expertise, experience, and commitment to professional excellence mean we are routinely involved in landmark cases and transactions, while our high standing among clients and peers sees us ranked among the leading law firms by independent guides such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, and IFLR1000.

We are known for working closely with clients and treating their problems as our own. Our lawyers pride themselves on being team players, fast and available, specialised in terms of practice area and industry, but versatile and creative in their thinking. We believe our advice should be tailor-made and that even the thorniest issue has a legal solution.

Our membership of Lex Mundi (the world’s premiere network of independent law firms) and the TLA (a regional alliance of leading firms from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) means we have close working relationships with first-rate firms throughout the region and around the world, enabling us to operate as the perfect hub for SEE and other multi-jurisdictional transactions.

Firm's website: http://jpm.rs/

Our Latest Issue