Amazon hit with €746m EU fine for data privacy rule breaches

Online retail giant says decision by Luxembourg regulator ‘without merit’

Amazon.com has been hit with a €746 million European Union fine for processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Photograph: Michel Spingler/AP Photo

Amazon.com has been hit with a €746 million European Union fine for processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Photograph: Michel Spingler/AP Photo

 

Amazon. com has been hit with a €746 million European Union fine for processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the e-commerce giant said on Friday.

The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) imposed the fine on Amazon Europe Core in a July 16th decision, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.

“We believe the CNPD’s decision to be without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously in this matter,” Amazon said in the filing. “There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party.”

Amazon says that it plans to appeal.

GDPR requires companies to seek people’s consent before using their personal data or face steep fines.

Amazon has its EU base in Luxembourg, which puts the local regulator in charge of monitoring its data protection law compliance.

Amazon has drawn scrutiny in recent years for the vast trove of data it has amassed on a range of customers and partners, including independent merchants who sell on its retail marketplace, users of its Alexa digital assistant, and shoppers whose browsing and purchase history inform what Amazon shows them on its website.

The company says it collects data to improve the customer experience, and sets guidelines governing what employees can do with it.

Some lawmakers and regulators have raised concerns that the company has used what it knows to give itself an unfair advantage in the marketplace. The privacy probe also adds to intense antitrust scrutiny of Amazon’s business in Europe.

Amazon is being probed by the EU over its use of data from sellers on its platform and whether it unfairly favours its own products. Germany has multiple probes into Amazon’s sales. The UK is also examining similar issues to the EU. The European Commission last month also said it sees potential antitrust problems with voice assistants and the data they allow Amazon and others to collect on user behaviour.– Reuters/Bloomberg