European Regulators Fine Amazon Nearly $890 Million for Data Breach Violations
No stranger to controversy, Amazon has had its fair share of criticism from American and European regulators, especially when it comes to its business practices and the security of user data. Earlier, the tech giant was accused of unfairly competing with sellers on its platforms in Germany and France.
European privacy regulators have fined tech giant Amazon nearly $890 million for failing to adhere to user data protection policies imposed for the European Union, it was revealed on Friday.
The new finding came from Amazon’s Q2 earnings, which happened to include a 10-Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that detailed a €746 million fine from the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD).
The CNPD is Amazon’s primary privacy regulator within the European Union on account of the company having its EU headquarters in Luxembourg.
The fine, which was issued on July 16 and represents about 4.2% of the company’s net income for 2020, is the equivalent of some $887 million and marks the largest-ever fine under the European Union’s data protection laws. The largest fine to date had been a hefty $57 million charge filed in 2019 against popular search engine Google.
Notice given to the SEC details that Amazon violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation through its advertising practices. Also included in the securities filing were remarks that indicated the CNPD provided the tech giant with a list of business practices that the company needed to rectify in order to resume compliance.
While Amazon did not offer any details on the specifics of the request, it did underscore in the filing that the accusations were baseless and would be appealed.
In a statement to The Verge, an Amazon representative commented that the fine is “entirely out of proportion,” and that “the decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law.”
The latest strike dealt by European regulators against Amazon comes months after the e-commerce company was accused of purposely misusing data collected from third-party sellers in order to compete against smaller vendors in France and Germany. The company’s “systematic” effort surfaced as part of an EU antitrust investigation in 2019.
Stateside, Amazon is also facing scrutiny from US lawmakers seeking to overhaul the tech giant’s business practices through a set of wide ranging antitrust reforms. US President Joe Biden has repeatedly signaled that his administration fully intends to crack down on the tech industry as part of a larger effort to prevent monopolies and promote more competition.