Amazon Faces Record Data Processing Fine

Amazon is facing a substantial £636 million ($886.6 million) fine from Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection, alleging the tech giant’s breach of European Union data protection laws. The fine, issued on July 16 according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, claims Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with EU law.

In response, Amazon dismissed the fine as “without merit” and asserted its intention to vigorously defend itself against the allegations. The company emphasized that there was no data breach and expressed strong disagreement with the ruling, stating its plan to appeal.

This fine marks the largest under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) since its inception in 2018, highlighting increased regulatory scrutiny on major tech companies over privacy and misinformation concerns. The Wall Street Journal previously reported in June that Amazon could face a fine exceeding £380 million ($425 million) under the EU’s privacy law.

While Amazon is not the first large company to face GDPR penalties, this fine is notably substantial. The GDPR imposes strict limits on the use, storage, and processing of sensitive data. Previous fines for breaches by companies like Google, British Airways, H&M, and Marriott Hotels were in the tens of millions, making Amazon’s penalty stand out. 

The details of Amazon’s infringement leading to the severe penalty remain undisclosed. The gravity, duration, and character of the breach factor into penalty decisions by national authorities. Amazon’s response underscores its disagreement with the Luxembourg authority’s decision and its commitment to challenge the fine. 

Amazon, among other US tech giants, has faced accusations of “monopoly power,” leading to calls for regulatory intervention. Previous concerns centered around Amazon’s access to and use of data, including sensitive commercial information on third-party products. The European Commission charged Amazon in November with abusing its dominant position in online retail. In May, Amazon successfully overturned a European Commission order to repay £250 million ($320-340 Million) in back taxes to Luxembourg, alleging unfair special treatment. 

Shopping Basket