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Amazon fined in France for ‘excessive’ surveillance of workers

Amazon has been fined £27m in France for what the country’s data watchdog called ‘excessive’ surveillance of its warehouse workers (Niall Carson/PA)
Amazon has been fined £27m in France for what the country’s data watchdog called ‘excessive’ surveillance of its warehouse workers (Niall Carson/PA)

Amazon has been fined 32 million euros (£27 million) in France for what the country’s data watchdog called “excessive” surveillance of its warehouse workers.

The CNIL has imposed the fine on Amazon France Logistique, which manages the e-commerce giant’s warehouses, over the data recorded by handheld scanners used by staff.

The watchdog said the implementation of the system measured interruptions in activity so precisely that it led workers to have to justify each break or interruption, and was in fact illegal.

The CNIL called the system “excessive” and also raised concerns over Amazon keeping the data collected on workers for 31 days.

In its findings, the watchdog said it did not question the need for Amazon to have some sort of monitoring system in place, given the scale and size of the company and its high performance objectives, but said it considered the retention of all the data in question and resulting statistical indicators to be “disproportionate”.

It added that it had also identified several breaches of GDPR.

The investigation was carried out following complaints from employees and media articles that highlighted the use of the surveillance system, the CNIL said.

In response, Amazon said the inquiry was carried out without a single visit by the case handler to its sites.

A spokesman said. “We strongly disagree with the CNIL’s conclusions, which are factually incorrect and we reserve the right to file an appeal.

“Warehouse management systems are industry standard and are necessary for ensuring the safety, quality, and efficiency of operations and to track the storage of inventory and processing of packages on time and in line with customer expectations.”