E-commerce giant, Amazon, is set to pay a record-breaking $887 million fine for violations of the GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation, the European Union’s privacy law. The GDPR aims to control how digital platforms use consumer data. It also seeks to regulates data breaches.
The EU imposed the fine on July 16 and subsequently disclosed in a financial filing. In the three years that the law has existed, the fine is the largest advertising-related decision, after Google’s $50 million fine in 2019.
European Union data privacy regulators say Amazon’s personal data processing do not align with the requirements of the GDPR. The company acknowledged an order to alter its business practices. However, it maintains the watchdog’s decision lacked merit and would seek to “defend ourselves vigorously in this matter.” Strong words if you’re the world’s leading e-commerce company.
Amazon’s European headquarters is in Luxembourg, and that’s where [ironically] the country’s data regulators imposed penalty for the violation. There’s still no official statement from the CNDP, Luxembourg’s data authority.
Regulatory fines are quite the norm in the EU and US. However, this case fortifies the position of European regulators on [seemingly inevitably] controversial practices of Big Tech companies. EU and UK officials continue to probe the business practices of companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon in the face of allegations of abusing consumer privacy or harming competition.
Amazon maintains there’s not been any leak or exposure of customer information. In the same vein, it reiterates its commitment to securing customer information and trust. But, European Union privacy law prescribes penalties of up to 20 million Euros or 4 percent of a company’s global revenue, whichever is higher.
Fresh off his record-setting space flight, Jeff Bezos will have to deal with this latest roadblock in down-to-earth fashion.