WhatsApp privacy case must be decided in a month, EU watchdog says


FILE PHOTO: WhatsApp app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -EU privacy watchdog EDPB on Wednesday gave the Irish data protection agency a month to issue a long-delayed decision on compliance by Facebook's WhatsApp, siding with national enforcers which had objected to a draft ruling.

The agency, which leads oversight of Facebook because the company's European headquarters are based in Ireland, has been investigating WhatsApp to see if it complies with transparency obligations specified by EU privacy rules known as GDPR.

It sought feedback from its peers in December but was unable to find a consensus regarding its draft decision.

The other national watchdogs objected to the type of infringements identified by the Irish, whether the specific data in question was personal data and the appropriateness of the proposed sanctions.

The Irish agency said it would ignore the objections and referred them to the EDPB, which on Wednesday decided to back its counterparts.

"The IE SA shall adopt its final decision, addressed to the controller, on the basis of the EDPB decision, without undue delay and at the latest one month after the EDPB has notified its decision," the EU watchdog, which acts as a referee in disputes among the national agencies, said.

The other national enforcers have long criticised their Irish peer for taking too long to wrap up its investigations and the size of proposed fines.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Evans and Alison Williams)

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