France’s data-protection regulator, CNIL, has levied a fine of €32 million ($34.8 million) against Amazon France Logistique, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. The penalty comes as a result of the company’s implementation of an “excessively intrusive” system to monitor employee performance.
According to CNIL, Amazon France Logistique was collecting employee data through scanners used to process packages, which were being used to gauge productivity and downtime. The scanners tracked periods of inactivity surpassing 10 minutes and identified packages that were scanned rapidly, taking less than 1.25 seconds for consecutive items. CNIL deemed this system excessive, as it could potentially pressure staff to justify every break or interruption.
Furthermore, CNIL found that Amazon had failed to adequately inform employees and external visitors about video surveillance, violating the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law focused on safeguarding data privacy and security.
Amazon strongly opposes CNIL’s findings and reserves the right to appeal the decision, claiming that the conclusions reached by the regulator are factually incorrect. The e-commerce giant argues that the use of warehouse management systems, like the one in question, is a common industry practice aimed at ensuring safety, efficiency, and timely processing of packages.
CNIL made this ruling after conducting inspections prompted by news reports highlighting certain practices within Amazon’s warehouses. Additionally, the watchdog received multiple complaints from employees.