Amazon fined a whopping $887 million by EU for violating privacy

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Image Courtesy: The Verge

Now that Amazon’s Q2 earnings are in, the company has filed a 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that includes further information, such as this eye-popping remark regarding a punishment levied by Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) (via Bloomberg).

The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (the “CNPD”) issued an order against Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l. on July 16, 2021, alleging that Amazon’s handling of personal data violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The verdict includes a €746 million fine as well as practise changes. We think the CNPD’s judgement is unjustified, and we intend to actively defend ourselves in this issue.

This translates to roughly $887 million in US dollars, making it the highest punishment ever imposed under European data protection legislation. The CNPD has not made its conclusion public, and Amazon has not said what changes to its business practises the commission is suggesting.

In November 2020, EU commissioners stated their view that Amazon’s retail company utilised non-public data to compete with other retailers in France and Germany.

“The proposed fine is totally out of proportion with even that interpretation,” Amazon argues in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. According to the Wall Street Journal, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws allow for fines of up to 4% of a company’s sales, which equates to around 4.2 percent of Amazon’s estimated $21.3 billion in revenue for 2020.

Amazon said, ”The security of our clients’ data and their confidence are key concerns for us. There has been no data breach, and no customer information has been shared with anybody else. These are undeniable facts. We vehemently oppose the CNPD’s decision and intend to file an appeal. The judgement on how we provide relevant advertising to our consumers is based on subjective and unproven interpretations of European privacy legislation, and the proposed fine is completely out of proportion to even that interpretation.”

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