back to article Irish data watchdog to Facebook: Hang about, what's all this about a WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger merger now?

Facebook has been warned it can only borg its three messaging platforms in the European Union if it meets data protection rules. There are widespread concerns about the plan's impact. No one likes Facebook Whats(goes)App must come down... World in shock as Zuck decides to intertwine Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp READ MORE …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ireland is looking really good these days - they seem to be the only sane voice in the Brexit debate and, unlike the UK, they are actually thinking rationally. I'm thinking that if the brexit toilet gets flushed then it's going to be the country to move to for a lot of people. Yes, the border is a potential problem, but the British have a lot of experience with setting up borders - Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan ... maybe third time lucky?

    1. Saruman the White

      What has FB's merger of WhatsApp, et al, to do with Brexit?

      1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

        it's ALL about Brexit

        What has FB's merger of WhatsApp, et al, to do with Brexit?

        ===

        Brexit is to blame and can be used for anything, it's the [Brexit] law apparentley :oP

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        I'd guess that the EU (and therefore Ireland) is going to keep on at FB's total lack of user data protection, but the UK is going to let it slide ... too many other things to worry about these days than regulating FB.

  2. JimboSmith Silver badge

    Creepy

    The whole thing is creepy. Does anyone seriously think that they're doing this just to make the user experience better? Another reason for keeping WhatsApp on a different number to my normal number. I wouldn't use anything to do with.Facebook if I could avoid it but thanks to my family I can't as they use WhatsApp.

    (Can we keep Brexit out of this? I'm already bored to the back teeth of hearing about it elsewhere)

    1. adnim Silver badge

      Re: Creepy

      "Does anyone seriously think that they're doing this just to make the user experience better?"

      The average Facebook user who does not realise that the Apps they install do far more than they see on the surface.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Creepy

        That's sadly more than likely true.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Creepy

      (Can we keep Brexit out of this? I'm already bored to the back teeth of hearing about it elsewhere)

      Don't you know that Brexit is the root of all evil?

      Or was that Trump, or maybe Clinton, I forget now.

    3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: thanks to my family I can't

      Explain your objection and that you will be leaving WhatsApp. Tell them the means by which they will be able to contact you thereafter. Leave. Never allow yourself to be a hostage to other people's ignorance.

      1. John 110
        Big Brother

        Re: thanks to my family I can't

        The main problem is that the majority of folk aren't the sort of paranoid savvy individuals that you find here at the Reg. I've tried to get the other half to switch from Chrome to something that doesn't collect her data, but "Chrome already works" and the effort to switch is too energy intensive for her (she is ill after all)

        But even those people that do have the capability to take more care of their personal data just can't be arsed if it means trying to learn something different.

    4. HolySchmoley

      Re: Creepy

      >I wouldn't use anything to do with.Facebook if I could avoid it but thanks to my family I can't as they use WhatsApp.

      Have you thought of telling them you don't?

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I wonder what the estimated total financial benefit of integration would be to the Facebook group?

    Would it outweigh the relatively small fines (a few tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, not actually small but anything is small relative to the Zuck wallet) that the EU are currently dolling out for non compliance with GDPR? The court case and the appeals could wind on for years and Zuck would be happily raking the cash in until he was eventually slapped on the wrist and told to hand over his pocket money. If he made $2bn extra income in real terms and was fined $250m he'd be quids in ... A bit of a cynical view but I'd bet he'd make much more than 'they' would dare fine him and that Nick Clegg would be more than happy helping grease the wheels of the system ....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Would it outweigh the relatively small fines (a few tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, not actually small but anything is small relative to the Zuck wallet) that the EU are currently dolling out for non compliance with GDPR?"

      First, let's remember that GDPR has been in place for less than a year. Given that a big case is gong to take a long time to work through it's not surprising that there have been no maximum fines yet. That doesn't mean that Zuck isn't doing his best to get into the top category.

      As to appeals etc putting off payment, accumulating a nice collection of potential liabilities with interest - whist they're being argued isn't going to do the share price much good.

      Frankly I'd lke to see 4% of turnover fines (I'm sure they'll manage to get themselves in the top tier) for each direction of transfer between platforms so that's 24% for that lot if they transfer both ways between each pair. And it's 48% if Facebook counts as a separate platform. Nice.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure Facebook are scared..by regulators in a office at the back of a supermarket..

    ..in an arsehole little town in the middle of nowhere.

    https://www.thejournal.ie/data-protection-commissioner-new-office-1488473-May2014/

    You can imagine the very high quality people that chose to work in a place like that. Its the little blue office at the back of the Centra.

    This is by design, not by accident. You cannot run a tax haven and regulatory evasion center with competent and nosy regulators running around causing mischief.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Tax Haven?

      That's gone.

      Apple and Eircom have moved to Jersey in the Channel Is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tax Haven?

        Not really. Its still a big tax haven with a small agribusiness and a nasty airline attached.

        In Irelands GDP last years about 25% of it was "i.p transfers". Add in the usual 15% transfer pricing / another miscellaneous multi-national tax scams and it top out around 40% of nominal GDP. Thats why the CSO in Ireland have moved to something called "modified GNI" to get even a semblance of statistical accuracy about the economy. Ireland is still basically a bigger Jersey with a better airport.

        To the two people who down voted my previous post I only have one question, have you actually ever been to Portarlington? I'll admit its no Longford or Navan but its still qualifies as an arshole of nowhere town.

        On the upside at least its not in Offaly. Where the BIFFO's roam.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sure Facebook are scared..by regulators in a office at the back of a supermarket..

      I must say I am fascinated by all these down votes. Do none of you know what a sham the Data Protection Commissioners office is. By design. There is even an Irish Times article from a few years ago where the new head of the commission admitted that the whole office is seen as complete joke.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/data-protection-commissioner-to-recruit-new-staff-1.2057948

      Stuck in a pokey office above a supermarket in a small country town in the middle of nowhere. Admittedly there is also a new office in Fitzwilliam Sq in Dublin but that has made little difference to the quality of the office or the people employed. Given the total budget the pay must not much higher than typical civil service clerical grades.

      There is zero meaningful regulation of this business in Ireland. Just like in the IFSC. The fact that the big guys like FB, Gogle , Apple etc can combine zero corporate regulation with zero tax regulation is just an added bonus. Everything's grand, lads, keep on doing what you're doing. As long as we get our (very) small cut of the proceeds we'll look the other way.

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Data Protection!

    Wake up Irish Regulator. Facebook already slurping Whatsapp and Instagram personal info

    Facebook breaking even pre-GDPR law and still breaking GDPR.

    Please stop sending complaints to ECJ and /dev/nul

  6. imanidiot Silver badge

    That would be a stupid move

    I'm currently (reluctantly) still using WhatsApp because it's the only way I communicate with some relatives, but if Facebook does indeed pulls everything into the Borg that's ending immediately. Screw Facebook. They already know way too much about me. I'm not going to be using FaceBorg Messenger, EVER.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Yeah ok, but on a more positive note...

    But given where we are now as opposed to two years ago say, it certainly feels that the tide is well and truly turning on these monstrous Yank owned IT companies and their nasty intrusive practices. There is now so much more scrutiny at both a regulatory and activist level of what they are up to, and also loads of software addons and tools that can protect you from them that, I'd say, in a few more years, they will have hopefully been screwed to the wall.

    It's still a crying shame though that the majority of the actual users of these applications still don't seem to care enough about their privacy.

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