Amazon Has Been Fined A Record $887 Million Over Data Privacy Violations

Amazon faces a record-breaking fine of €746 million (roughly $887 million) after a European Union data privacy regulator said the e-commerce giant had violated the signature privacy law, known as GDPR, in an advertising-related decision.

The National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) in Luxembourg, where Amazon’s European operations are headquartered, issued the decision on July 16, the company disclosed in a securities filing. The CNPD claimed Amazon Europe Core’s processing of personal data for advertising did not comply with the GDPR requirements. Amazon, however, says that the decision is without merit and would defend itself strongly in the case.

The fine is considered to be the biggest ever recorded under Europe’s data protection law. However, the CNPD has not publicly announced its decision yet, and Amazon also did not specify the amended business practices the commission is proposing.

In November 2020, EU commissioners announced that Amazon’s retail business manipulated non-public data to compete with other sellers in France and Germany.

In a statement, Amazon said, “the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation.” The WSJ notes that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations allow for fines of up to 4 percent of a company’s revenue, with the released number amounting to about 4.2 percent of Amazon’s reported $21.3 billion income for 2020.

“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. 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 stated this in their update on July 30th, 9:35AM ET: Updated to clarify that the Luxembourg commission is imposing the fine and adding a statement from Amazon.

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