Ireland’s WhatsApp penalty highlights EU privacy turmoil

LONDON (AP) — Ireland has fined WhatsApp for breaching strict European Union privacy rules by forcing users to consent to allow their personal data to be used to provide “service improvements and security.” The Data Protection Commission issued a 5.5 million euro ($5.9 million) penalty in the case on Thursday. It has exposed divisions with regulators in other EU countries over regulating the chat app’s parent Meta. The commission is Meta’s lead European privacy regulator because the company’s regional headquarters is in Dublin. It originally sided with the Silicon Valley giant but a slew of other EU data protection watchdogs objected to its draft decisions and the Irish watchdog was forced to overturn them and issue stiffer punishment.