France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) has fined Amazon approximately USD 35 million for “excessively intrusive” worker surveillance.

The commission asserts that this surveillance puts ‘continuous pressure’ on employees in Amazon’s warehouses.

After conducting an investigation prompted by press reports, CNIL announced that Amazon’s systems, which measure and restrict scanning speed (including a ‘stow machine gun’ indicator that activates when workers scan too quickly), as well as the company’s data collection and retention practices, were deemed ‘excessive’ and found to violate several GDPR articles.

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Similarly, CNIL noted that the company’s downtime measurements, requiring workers to justify every interruption, even those as short as a minute, also violated regulations.

In response, Amazon issued a comprehensive statement justifying its warehouse management systems as standard industry practices. The company emphasized that these systems are essential to ‘make the daily lives of its employees easier’ and to ensure their safety and efficiency.

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