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Amazon fined in France over improper employee surveillance

Exterior view of the Amazon Logistics delivery agency in Velizy-Villacoublay, France

Amazon fined in France over improper employee surveillance

Amazon has been fined €32 million ($34.8 million) in France for using an "excessively intrusive" system to monitor employee performance.

France’s data protection regulator, CNIL, said the local operator of Amazon’s warehouses collected data from package processing scanners to assess productivity and downtime. 

CNIL said the scanners monitored periods of inactivity of over 10 minutes.

Moreover, it flagged cases where a package was scanned "too rapidly" or in less than 1.25 seconds from the previous item.

The watchdog calls this system excessive as it might compel employees to explain every break or interruption.

Amazon was also accused of improperly informing employees and visitors of video surveillance.

This violates the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

However, the company disagrees with CNIL's findings and intends to appeal, asserting that the conclusions are “factually incorrect”. 

The e-commerce giant defends warehouse management systems as an industry norm to ensure safety, efficiency, and timely package processing. 

Amazon said it’s confident that its systems comply with European and French regulations.

However, the firm said it would deactivate the feature detecting rapid package processing and extend the inactivity warning threshold from 10 to 30 minutes.

CNIL conducted inspections prompted by media reports on certain practices in Amazon's warehouses and received employee complaints.

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