One of the companies that benefited the most from the pandemic was Amazon. For security, millions of people in the world chose to make their purchases online. However, the brand has been under scrutiny by regulatory authorities for years due to some practices that they consider to act as a monopoly or not respect customer privacy. For that last issue, he has just received a millionaire fine in Europe.
The European Union imposed a record fine of 746 million euros, the equivalent of 887 million dollars for violations of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or, in Spanish, General Data Protection Regulation.
The decision stems from a 2018 complaint by the French group of privacy rights called La Quadrature du Net, which alleged that Amazon directs its advertising to users even when they do not get the consent of customers.
The ruling, which was issued by the Luxembourg data protection authority (CNPD) on July 16, was disclosed by Amazon in a regulatory filing last week. It should be said that the CNPD oversees Amazon's operations in Europe because the company's headquarters in the European Union is based in Luxembourg.
The watchdog said that Amazon's processing of personal data did not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union. And the authority not only imposed the fine, but it is also calling for reviews of Amazon's advertising practices.
On the matter, in a statement, Amazon said it plans to appeal the decision: There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are indisputable. We totally disagree with the ruling. of the CNPD, and we intend to appeal. The decision regarding how we show customers relevant advertising is based on subjective and unproven interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is totally disproportionate even with that interpretation.
And it is that the sanction would be the largest ever imposed for a breach of the GDPR. The previous record of $ 118.82 million for Google last year had to pay for violating ad trackers rules.
However, it is also worth noting that even for a record amount, the reality is that it would not affect Amazon's coffers much because the e-commerce giant has just published its third consecutive quarter of 100 billion.
It must be said that this is not the first time that Europe has imposed a sanction on Amazon. Last December we informed you that the French data protection agency (CNIL) announced that it would fine Amazon and Google for using tracking cookies without the consent of users.
At that time Amazon had to pay 42 million because, according to the regulator, in 2019 the company was using advertising cookies without Internet users knowing. In addition, the companies did not show sufficiently clear information for the Internet user to understand what these cookies were for and how to reject them.
The reason why the agency is being so severe with technology companies since it is one of the highest fines is that they point out, this type of activity threatens the privacy of Internet users in their daily digital life since they "allow collect a lot of information about people, without their consent, in order to later be able to offer them personalized advertising, stated the agency.