Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has welcomed the record fine issued to social media communications app WhatsApp by the Data Protection Commission.
The €225m fine came as a result of an investigation by the DPC into how it shared users’ information with other Facebook companies.
Teachta Kenny said:
“This fine is a victory for WhatsApp users across the state. We have these GDPR regulations to ensure our personal privacy when communicating with friends, family and colleagues – yet WhatsApp bypassed those rules and shared details with Facebook and it’s other companies without the knowledge of its users.
“We have previously seen punitive fines handed out when companies breach regulations like this, but I must commend the work of the Data Commissioners office on this ruling as it’s one of the largest handed out in the history of the office. A fine of this size will make an impact on the company and serve as a stark warning to others in future.
“I am happy to see the original fine issued by the DPC was significantly increased by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) as part of today’s ruling. This issue affected people right across Ireland and Europe, and the consequences must fit the breach.
“It is my understanding that this investigation originated from complaints made by the public, both in Ireland and abroad, about how WhatsApp Ireland was processing and sharing data with other companies under the Facebook company umbrella. Other EU data protection agencies then began their own investigation. This may not have taken place were it not for the complaints and swift action of the DPC and we must acknowledge that.
“While the company itself has stated it will appeal the decision, which is their right, I am of the view that this fine is a victory for people power, and a win for the privacy rights of app users.”