Why does WhatsApp have to pay a record fine of 225 million euros?  - launch

After two years of investigation, the Irish regulator decided to impose a penalty of 225 million euros on the encrypted messaging app violating European regulations.

Certainly, after paying, he will feel lighter. First. In any case, WhatsApp must withdraw 225 million euros from its wallet. The fine, which was set on Thursday by the Irish regulator (DPC of the Data Protection Commission) – the app has set up its headquarters in Ireland -, It is the second largest damage ever by a European regulator. First date in July: €746 million for Amazon in Luxembourg for non-compliance with European regulations on private data of internet users.

But what could the messaging app, owned by the Facebook group, do to receive such a whip? While the French news agency AFP has been following, for two years, the Irish CNIL has been investigating the subsidiary. Originally, the investigations focused on WhatsApp’s compliance with transparency obligations under European data protection rules, namely the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But at the beginning of the year, the app announced the implementation of new terms of use related to the management of users’ personal data. From the beginning they ask themselves: Is this the end? End-to-end encryption Conversations, a feature partly responsible for the app’s success? No. However, the changes made are not encouraging.

Perfect targeted advertising

Phone number, IP address, profile photos, last connection status… If these new terms are accepted, the full set of data held by WhatsApp will be shared with the entire Facebook group, including Instagram and Messenger. As for the goals of these modifications, it is not surprising that they are of a commercial nature. As specialized media analytics digital factoryAnd The new rule allows third-party apps, such as Instagram, to fine-tune their targeted ads.

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In July, the changes alerted the European Consumer Unions Office (Beuc), which lodged a complaint with the European Commission. In his viewfinder, these new rules he describes as “It is neither transparent nor understandable to users”, WhatsApp accuses Multiple violations of European consumers’ rights. Soon, the European regulator was seized by German power. So the latter ends with the question “New investigations quickly” For the Irish authority, which should highlight several aspects, in particular the cross-reference capabilities associated with unique identifiers and the use of data held by the Facebook affiliate.

‘Completely disproportionate penalties’

Regarding these last points, the conclusions given by Thursday DPC . reveal ‘Very serious crimes’ and one ‘Great lack of information’ provided to the user. The ax falls: the branch receives a reprimand, it must “to comply” In accordance with European rules and a fine of 225 million euros, the Irish CNIL declares.

Not bad, as a punishment, for an authority often accused of appeasement (Dublin actually benefits from tax revenue from the many multinational corporations that are set up in the country). The small details are the same: at first, the organizer wanted instead to propose a fine of 50 million euros, but it was “Other European authorities forced him to increase his value to 225 million euros”, Identifies in a press release Max Schrems, figure of the fight to protect personal data and founder of the non-governmental organization Nobody of Your Business (NOYB). “We welcome this first decision from the Irish regulator. Corn [ce dernier] He has received about 10,000 complaints annually since 2018 and this is the first major fine.” he added.

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For its part, WhatsApp denounced ‘Completely disproportionate penalties’ She indicated that the company would appeal. WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. We have worked to ensure that the information we provide is transparent and complete and will continue to do so.” Company added.

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