(TargetLiberty.org) – A tech company has been hit with a nine-figure fine over breaches of data privacy. It looks like WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is being made an example by the EU’s data regulator. But, is it past time Big Tech was pushed back into line?
On September 2, Ireland’s data protection agency announced that it had fined internet messaging platform WhatsApp €225 million ($266 million) for violating EU laws on data transparency three years ago. WhatsApp says the fine is “entirely disproportionate” and plans to appeal the ruling.
BREAKING: The Irish Data Protection Commission has imposed a €225m fine on WhatsApp for infringing data protection rules. It’s the second largest fine ever imposed in the EU under the GDPR and the largest ever imposed by the DPC.
— Will Goodbody (@willgoodbody) September 2, 2021
The EU bloc has common rules on data protection, the oppressive and widely-criticized General Data Protection Regulations. Enforcement, however, is down to national agencies – and continental countries complain that Ireland is reluctant to apply the law to tech companies. Comments from EU regulators suggest that Ireland was directed to slamming WhatsApp for breaches of the rules. For example, the European Data Protection Board admits that Ireland was ordered to “reassess and increase” the fine imposed on WhatsApp.
According to Reuters, there were at least 13 more open data protection cases against Facebook-owned companies in Ireland alone as of the end of 2020. If Brussels keeps up the pressure, it could soon become too expensive for tech companies to operate inside the EU. Will they relocate headquarters back to the US, or will our obscene corporation taxes push them even further away?
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