France slaps 32 million Euros penalty on Amazon for data privacy concerns among employees

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Amazon France Logistique, a subsidiary of the American retail behemoth Amazon Inc., has been hit with a substantial fine of $35 million or €32 million by the Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertes (CNIL), the French data protection authority. The penalty was imposed due to the alleged intrusive surveillance of warehouse staff.

CNIL asserted that the surveillance camera systems employed in the warehouse were deemed illegal, crossing boundaries of privacy and causing excessive stress among employees. The watchdog argued that the monitoring systems, designed to track employee inactivity and scanning speed, constituted a clear violation of articles 12 and 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

After a thorough 31-day investigation prompted by multiple employee complaints, CNIL found that the Warehouse Management Systems were not adhering to industry standards in inventory and package processing. These systems were reported to be placing undue pressure on workers, creating an environment contrary to the expectations of customer service.

In response, Amazon defended its position, stating that the surveillance systems were implemented to prevent processing errors commonly encountered during order fulfillment. The tech giant argued that these measures were necessary to uphold the quality and efficiency of its business operations.

CNIL disclosed these findings after notifying Amazon of the penalty on December 27, 2023. The authority released an official statement to the press on January 23, 2024, outlining the breach of privacy and the subsequent penalty imposed on Amazon France Logistique.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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