Amazon faces the highest fine ever issued by the European Union

The ruling establishes the payment of about 746 million euros and the review of advertising practices, but the eCommerce giant will appeal the decision

The fine issued by the European Union against Amazon for breach of the RGPD amounts to 746 million euros, becoming the highest registered to date for this type of infraction.

The sanction is the product of a collective legal management carried out by the Quadrature du net in 2018, when the French movement for privacy rights denounced the electronic commerce giant for irregular conduct in the handling of advertising. The Quadrature asserted that the US company directs advertising towards its users even though they have not given their full consent to do so.

It took three years for the corresponding bodies to manage and to study the complaint. When it seemed that it would be dismissed, the CNPD – the data protection authority of Luxembourg and the country where Amazon maintains its headquarters for Europe – issued a ruling in favor of the Quadrature.

With this ruling, the body in charge of supervising the activity of the company in the EU not only imposed the fine; it also demanded a review of the company’s advertising practices.

The decision has generated great commotion due to the amount that the fine represents, which exceeds by more than 600 million euros the one imposed on Google last year by about 99 million euros and was considered the highest one.

For Amazon, this sentence is very worrying and counterproductive, not only because of the exorbitant amount. It is also alarmed by the investigation process on the review of the company’s practices and behaviors, for which it plans to appeal the fine, arguing that there is no data breach or breach.

This was indicated by company representatives through a statement: “There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are indisputable. We totally disagree with the CNPD ruling, and we intend to appeal. The decision regarding how we show customers relevant advertising is based on subjective and unproven interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is totally disproportionate even with that interpretation.”

M. Rodríguez


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