24th January 2022

The first Zoom show following the summer break kicked off today hosted by Donal Kavanagh when the case of the record fine of € 225 Million being imposed by the Data Protection Commission on WhatsApp Ireland was reviewed. Seamus Gunn was of the opinion that it was interesting on 2 fronts, that it was the highest fine ever imposed by the Data Protection Commission in this country, following a fine of € 450,000.00 imposed on Twitter in December last year and secondly that the fine had been upped from a proposed   € 50 Million to the figure of € 225 Million after it had been referred to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). He said that it was interesting that WhatsApp had set aside a substantial sum of € 77.5 Million to meet the complaint which was nearly trebled with the fine. He said that he thought it likely that the matter would be appealed and that if so in this jurisdiction, to the High Court or to the European Court. He said that in light of the fact that Amazon had been fined € 746 Million by Luxembourg in the summer that there was an emphasis on upping the penalties for these types of multinationals that were found to be in breach of data protection processing, he was not confident that such an appeal would change or reduce the fine. He said that on a positive note that the fine was payable to the exchequer of the country in which it is levied, hence Ireland would reap the benefit. It would also set a precedent for future breaches and penalties to be imposed as the European Data Protection Board had referred the matter back to the Irish Commissioner as they considered the proposed fine for € 50 Million to be inadequate. There are also remedial actions required by WhatsApp. Until such time as the appeal has been determined the matter shall remain ongoing, but our contributor was not optimistic about a positive outcome for the Appellant. 

A typical diverse Q & A followed. Listen to the full interview below.

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