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Amazon accused of ‘systemic disregard for EU privacy laws’

07 May 2024 / data law Print

Amazon accused of ‘systemic disregard' for law

Trade unions across Europe have requested an investigation by data protection authorities of Amazon’s data surveillance practices, Euronews has reported.

The move follows the December 2023  investigation the French Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) which subsequently imposed a €32 million penalty on Amazon France Logistique.

Excessively intrusive system

The probe, under the EU data protection rules, found that workers  existed under an “excessively intrusive system” for monitoring activity and performance.
The global giant was also penalised for inadequate protocols on its video surveillance  mechanisms.
In 2021, the Luxembourg data protection authority fined Amazon €746 million for personal data processing violations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Amazon warehouses have employees in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Spain and unions want a probe into Amazon’s daily and habitual use of surveillance and algorithmic management.
Workers are subject to tracking technologies such as hand scanners, activity monitoring software, video cameras, GPS devices.

Detrimental effect

The unions state that this has a detrimental effect on workers’ mental and physical health.

Oliver Roethig of UNI Europa told Euronews that the workers management systems “undermine the trust between workers and management but also highlight a systemic disregard for our privacy laws.”

“It's high time that we stand up and demand that these multinational companies respect workers' personal data and their right to a dignified workplace. We need robust action now to ensure that our laws are fully enforced," the union rep said.

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