France’s data protection agency, CNIL, has imposed a fine of 32 million euros ($34.9 million) on Amazon’s French warehouse management unit. The penalty is related to what CNIL considers an “excessively intrusive” surveillance system used to monitor employee performance.
Amazon France Logistique employed scanners to collect data, recording instances of inactivity exceeding 10 minutes or specific actions with packages down to the second. Additional surveillance methods, including the “stow machine gun,” were also flagged as unacceptable by CNIL.
Amazon’s French warehouse management unit, Amazon France Logistique, has been fined 32 million euros ($34.9 million) by France’s data protection agency, CNIL, for maintaining an “excessively intrusive” surveillance system.
The system scrutinized employee performance by tracking data from scanners used in package processing, recording instances of inactivity and specific actions with packages. CNIL highlighted the constant pressure on workers to justify absences and monitoring even the time between entry into the warehouse and the start of work.
Employees were reportedly insufficiently informed about the surveillance, and the data retention period was 31 days. The fine represents approximately three percent of Amazon France Logistique’s turnover.
An Amazon spokesperson contested the findings, describing them as “factually incorrect,” and asserted the company’s right to appeal.
The spokesperson emphasized the necessity of such surveillance systems to ensure security, quality, and efficiency.
CNIL revealed that several thousand employees were impacted by this monitoring system, prompting the regulatory investigation initiated in 2019 based on media reports and worker complaints.