The Luxembourg data protection authority has fined Amazon 746 million euros for a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation – the highest fine ever imposed on Amazon. The group has announced its intention to take legal action against this.
Violation of EU data protection law
It is currently not known which accusations are being made in detail. What is clear, however, is that the US group is alleged to have violated the General Data Protection Regulation. This is not the first time that such accusations have been made: In France, Amazon has already been asked to pay up due to a disregard of data protection law. At that time, the company had to pay 35 million euros. However, the fine now imposed is unique due to its enormous amount. The reason for this is that the Luxembourg authority is making full use of the legally prescribed penalty range: penalties of up to four percent of annual sales may be imposed for data protection violations.
Amazon is not alone in its violations: Other major U.S. corporations have also been condemned in the EU for violations of data protection rules. Google, for example, had to pay 100 million euros as a fine some time ago.
Amazon plans to fight fine
Amazon has already announced that it does not want to accept the penalty. The company spoke of the accusations being unfounded, as there had been neither a data leak nor had data been passed on to third parties. The statement also makes reference to the practice of displaying personalized advertising to customers – the Luxembourg authorities may therefore see this as a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation. This fits in with a statement by the EU Commission from last year, in which it is pointed out that Amazon in France and Germany is accessing non-public data of the retailers of its marketplace in order to create a competitive advantage for itself.
Clarity about the exact allegations and the exact data collection and sharing practices of the Internet company should be available at the latest in the context of a complaint procedure. Further developments therefore remain to be seen.