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The updated rules, which will replace the ones established in 1995, aim to unify data privacy across Europe to simplify regulations for international businesses doing business in Europe.
The fine is in accordance with the commission's merger regulation, which requires companies in a merger investigation to provide the correct information for the commission to review mergers -- something that Facebook failed to do, according to the commission.
Last month, Facebook was fined €1.2 million by the Spanish Data Protection Agency for allegedly collecting personal information from users in Spain that could then be used for advertising without seeking consent.
The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (WP29) issued a letter [PDF] to Whats App co-founder Jan Koum, saying that it has launched a taskforce, led by the United Kingdom Information Commissioner's office, to investigate the "deficiencies in the consent mechanism" the encrypted messaging service provider has employed.
The GDPR will require organisations around the world that hold data belonging to individuals from within the EU to provide a high level of protection and explicitly know where every piece of data is stored.
Whats App also failed to offer "sufficiently granular user controls" to let users opt out of data sharing activities, according to the WP29.That means if you have a Twitter account, you can make it so that updating your Facebook status publicly will send out a tweet as well.A few third-party apps have done this in the past, but Facebook has been meticulous at blocking them.If you don't wish to agree, you'll need to discontinue using Whats App," the Whats App notice of change states, according to the WP29.The data regulator said the company has taken a "take it or leave it" approach in which users either signal their "consent" to the sharing of data or they are unable to use the service.
Whats App added a "notice for EU users" in August 2017, but the WP29 believes it does not "sufficiently address the issues of non-compliance with data protection law".