Saturday, February 08, 2020

The GAA and the GDPR

I have a piece in the Irish Times today discussing the kerfuffle about GAA clubs using WhatsApp to communicate with members. It may be the first time the phrase "dick pics" has appeared on the opinion pages of the paper of record. Here's an excerpt:
Facebook is not providing WhatsApp for philanthropic purposes, and information about who you communicate with, how and when is immensely valuable. When it bought WhatsApp, Facebook attempted to combine that information with individuals’ Facebook activity – to build up a complete picture of your activity, public and private – despite stating to the European Commission that it would not do so. Facebook was eventually stopped by data protection authorities, and in 2017 it was fined €110 million by the European Commission for its deceptive statements during the merger. 
Nevertheless, it has stated that it still aims to use WhatsApp information for Facebook advertising, and presumably will also use your WhatsApp activity for ad targeting as it rolls out advertising on WhatsApp in 2020. 
Given the commercial value of this personal information, clubs and other groups who communicate through WhatsApp are still paying for a service – it’s just that they’re shifting the cost to their members, who pay with their privacy.

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