Amazon France fined for excessive automated monitoring of workers

Occurred: 2020-

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Amazon was fined EUR 32 million by France's privacy regulator for the 'excessive' and 'illegal' monitoring of staff activity and performance using scanners and several software systems.

Amazon France Logistique had been using handheld scanners and three indicators to measure the producivity and inactivity of its employees, including for tasks such as putting an item on a shelf, taking an item off a shelf, putting an item into a box, and time spent on breaks. 

According to France's National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), 'the implementation of a system measuring interruptions of activity so precisely and leading to the employee potentially having to justify each break or interruption was illegal' and had breached the EU's GDPR principle of data minimisation and the lawfulness of the processing.

The CNI also took issue with Amazon's transparency, or lack thereof. Before April 2020, temporary workers had not been informed before their data was collected, and employees were not properly told about video surveillance systems.

Amazon disagreed with the CNIL's conclusions, which it described as 'factually incorrect.' 


Operator: Amazon France Logistique employees, visitors  
Developer: Amazon France Logistique
Country: France
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Monitor employee performance
Technology: Handheld scanner
Issue: Employment; Necessity/proportionality; Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Marketing