Today we’ve been able to learn that the big tech giant, Amazon, fined $887M for GDPR privacy violations in Europe, it’s a record. The Luxembourg National Data Protection Commission (CNPD), an independent public agency established to monitor the legality of the collection and use of personal information in the European Union has taken action against the American company.
The penalty is the largest ever issued by Union authorities in connection with GDPR violations. Although hundreds of fines have been imposed for non-compliance until now the largest case was the one against Google, issued from the French data protection regulator.
The ruling finds it proven that Amazon is analyzing user behavior to create profiles used in targeted advertising. The creation of these behavioral profiles is done without the user’s consent and therefore violates the European Regulation. CNPD has also ruled that Amazon must commit to changing its business practices, although no details were cited.
The CNPD’s decision follows a 2018 complaint by Quadrature du Net against Amazon Europe Core SARL, Amazon EU SARL, Amazon Services Europe SARL, Amazon Media EU SARL, and Amazon Video Limited. The complaint also targets other major tech multinationals such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.
“The model of economic domination based on the exploitation of our privacy and free will is profoundly illegitimate and contrary to all the values that our democratic societies claim to defend,” the group commented in a statement.
Amazon to appeal against the fine
Amazon disclosed the ruling in an SEC filing on Friday in which it criticized the decision as “unfounded” and added that “Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities.”
“There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party,” she added. “These facts are undisputed,” Amazon says. “We strongly disagree with the CNPD’s ruling, and we intend to appeal. The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation,” the officials added.
In November last year, the European Commission announced formal antitrust charges against the company, asserting that the retailer had abused its position to compete with third-party companies using its platform. At the same time, the commission launched a second investigation into the alleged preferential treatment of its own products on its platform and those of its partners.