Amazon fined 756 million euros: a “historic sanction”

The Luxembourg data protection commission estimated, in July 2021, that Amazon does not comply with European law, by collecting personal data intended for advertising targeting, without clear consent.

In 2020, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) ordered the giant Amazon to pay a fine of 35 million euros for having violated the French law on cookies (and in particular the “advertising tracers” aspect) cookies, because others are essential). The same was then true for Google, condemned to pay 100 million euros. But these already high figures are incommensurate with the sanction that Luxembourg has just imposed on Amazon: 746 million euros. This is what revealed Bloomberg this July 30, 2021.

This is a record sum for a European fine in this area. The company intends to appeal. But what is this decision based on? It is again a question of data management.

La Quadrature du Net applauds

The decision was rendered by the Luxembourg data protection commission (CNPD), a body similar to the CNIL in France. The CNPD believes that Amazon has not complied with European Union data protection regulations, and therefore the famous GDPR. The details of the conviction are parsimonious, but it would appear that the regulator accuses Amazon of collecting personal data, for the purpose of advertising targeting, without actually obtaining clear and informed permission from users.

Amazon // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

This decision is made following the complaints filed by the association La Quadrature du Net, and in particular a complaint bringing together a collective of 10,000 people in 2018. ” The decision seems unambiguous: the advertising targeting system imposed by Amazon is carried out without our free consent, in violation of the GDPR », Comments the association.

In a stock market document sent to the press, the company said it was appealing, considering the decision “unfounded”, because according to Amazon ” there was no data breach, and no customer data was exposed to any third party “. But for La Quadrature du Net, this answer misses the point, in ” pretending not to understand what is intended “. The association recalls that, behind its complaints, “ it is the targeted advertising system itself that our complaints intend to sweep over as a whole, not a few occasional security breaches “.

La Quadrature du Net describes this sanction as ” historical “, who ” strikes at the heart of the GAFAM predation system and should be applauded as such “. Such fines could indeed have a dissuasive character, but, Amazon having appealed, it remains to be seen what will be the consequences of this case and to what extent this decision will change the company’s digital practices for the European territory.

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