Amazon Versus EU: American Firm Challenges Data Protection Fine Of $865 Million

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Oct 16, 2021 11:12 AM
Amazon Versus EU: American Firm Challenges Data Protection Fine Of $865 MillionAmazon says a fine is not fine.
Snapshot
  • In recent years, Amazon the world's largest online retailer, has come under fire for accumulating vast amounts of data on a variety of customers and partners, including independent merchants who sell on its retail marketplace, Alexa users, and shoppers whose browsing and purchase history informs what Amazon shows them on its website.

The American company Amazon.com has filed an appeal against a record fine of 746 million euros ($865 million) imposed by the European Union for allegedly violating strict data protection standards.

According to Luxembourg court spokesman Henri Eippers, the appeal was filed at the Luxembourg Administrative Tribunal on 15 October, reported Bloomberg.

The challenge comes after Amazon was fined by the CNPD, which is the data protection agency of Luxembourg, where the American e-commerce giant has its European headquarters.

As per the report, the regulators stated that Amazon's processing of consumers' personal data violated the EU's General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. It was also said that a complaint from the French privacy rights group La Quadrature du Net in 2018 prompted this ruling.

In recent years, Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has come under fire for accumulating vast amounts of data on a variety of customers and partners, including independent merchants who sell on its retail marketplace, Alexa users, and shoppers whose browsing and purchase history informs what Amazon shows them on its website.

Bloomberg reported that Amazon declined to comment on the appeal, but it noted that “there has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party,” according to a July 2021 statement.

However, the company earlier claimed that it "strongly" disagreed with the findings of the Luxembourg authorities.

According to Amazon, it collects data to better the customer experience and establishes standards for how staff can use it. Some lawmakers and authorities have expressed worry that the firm has taken advantage of its knowledge to gain an edge over competitors.

Since the GDPR rules came into force in May 2018, the powers of EU data protection regulators have grown rapidly. The rule authorises regulators to impose fines of up to 4 per cent of a company's yearly global sales.

The privacy investigation is in addition to Amazon's business in Europe being under heavy antitrust examination. The EU is looking into Amazon's usage of data from merchants on its marketplace and if it favours its own products unfairly.

Multiple investigations into Amazon's sales have been launched in Germany. The United Kingdom is also reportedly looking into similar issues as the EU.

The latest appeal by Amazon comes at a time when a shocking investigative report by Reuters revealed that the company had cloned products and skewed search results in India.

After this report come under the spotlight, lawmakers from both parties in the United States, heavily criticised the company’s malpractice, while in India retailers demanded a government investigation.

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