WhatsApp pushes privacy update to comply with Irish ruling

WhatsApp pushes privacy update to comply with Irish ruling

London WhatsApp is adding more details to its privacy policy and reporting this information to European users, after Irish regulators imposed a record fine on the chat service for breaching strict EU data privacy rules.

Starting Monday, WhatsApp’s privacy policy will be reorganized to provide more information about the data it collects and how it is used. The company said it also explains in more detail how it protects data shared across borders for its global service and the legal basis for data processing.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which is now renamed Meta Platforms. With the update, users in Europe will see a banner notification at the top of their chat list that will take them to the new information.

WhatsApp is taking the action after being hit with a record 225 million euros ($267 million) fine in September by an Irish data privacy watchdog for violating strict European Union data protection rules on transparency around people’s data sharing with other Facebook companies.

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The chat service said it did not agree with the decision, but that it should comply by updating its policy while the appeal is lodged. The update does not affect how the data is processed, and users will not have to agree to anything new or take any other action.

The Ireland Data Privacy Commission is the main regulator of WhatsApp privacy under EU rules because its regional headquarters is in Dublin.

WhatsApp was embroiled in a separate privacy controversy earlier this year when it failed in a different update to its privacy policy that raised concerns that users would be forced to agree to share more of their data with Facebook. The update sparked a backlash from users turning to rival services like Telegram and Signal, an investigation by Turkey’s competition watchdog, a temporary German ban on data collection, and a complaint from consumer groups in the European Union.

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Facebook’s six-hour outage last month highlighted how important WhatsApp is to more than 2 billion users around the world.

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