Amazon fined $887M by European privacy watchdog for sharing customer information with third parties without their consent
Early this month, France’s Competition Authority (FCA) fined Alphabet’s Google $593 million (500 million euro) for violating the French regulator’s orders to negotiate paid deals with news publishers in France. The new orders came after complaints from publishers that Google was sidestepping France’s implementation of a new European Union copyright directive.
Google is not alone. Amazon is facing a similar problem in Europe after the e-commerce giant was hit with an $887 million fine by the European privacy watchdog. The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection announced Friday that Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
The European Union asked Amazon to pay $887 million in fines for processing personal data in violation of the bloc’s GDPR rules, as privacy regulators crackdown on big tech companies and enforce their data privacy laws. Under the new GDPR law, European privacy watchdogs have the ability to fine companies as much as 4% of their annual global sales.
The fine was issued two weeks ago by Luxembourg’s privacy regulator. However, Amazon only disclosed it this Friday in an SEC filing. In addition to the fines, the European privacy watchdog also ordered Amazon to revise certain undisclosed business practices.
“On July 16, 2021, the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (the “CNPD”) issued a decision against Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l. claiming that Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The decision imposes a fine of €746 million and corresponding practice revisions. We believe the CNPD’s decision to be without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously in this matter,” Amazon said in its filing.
Amazon, however, denied that there had been any kind of breach that would violate the GDPR rules. “Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC. “There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party,” the spokesperson added.
“These facts are undisputed. 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.”
Amazon spokesperson said the e-commerce giant will appeal the fine.