Amazon appeals its conviction by the CNIL for “excessive” surveillance of its employees


Amazon announces that it is appealing its conviction by the CNIL to a fine of 32 million euros, which the French privacy watchdog imposed on it in January for its employee surveillance system (AFP/Archives/SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Amazon announced on Friday that it would appeal its conviction by the CNIL to a fine of 32 million euros, which the French privacy watchdog had imposed on it in January for its employee surveillance system, which it deemed “excessively intrusive “.

“We strongly disagree with the conclusions of the CNIL which are factually incorrect and we have appealed this decision to the Council of State,” Amazon said in a statement sent to AFP.

The CNIL, for its part, did not comment on Amazon’s decision to appeal.

This fine targeting Amazon France Logistique (AFL) is equivalent to nearly 3% of the company’s turnover, an “almost unprecedented” level, the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (Cnil) specified in January. to the AFP.

The CNIL opened a procedure in 2019 following press articles and complaints from employees and concluded that AFL had put in place “an excessively intrusive system for monitoring the activity and performance of employees” with regard to of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

She criticizes it in particular for collecting productivity data on a massive scale via scanners used by employees in its warehouses via two indicators transmitted to managers.

The first, the “stow machine gun”, notes when an item is scanned “too quickly”, in less than 1.25 seconds and the second, the “idle time”, signals a period of inactivity of more than ten minutes.

For Amazon, “the use of warehouse management systems is standard industry practice,” the company explains in a press release.

The CNIL opened a procedure in 2019 following press articles and complaints from employees

The CNIL opened a procedure in 2019 following press articles and complaints from employees (AFP/Archives/Thomas SAMSON)

These tools “are necessary to guarantee the safety, quality and efficiency of operations and to ensure inventory tracking and the processing of packages on time and in accordance with customer expectations,” she further assures.

The CNIL judges that this system potentially leads employees to have to justify any interruption, even “of three or four minutes”, of the activity of their scanner, “(placing) continuous pressure on them”.

Amazon assures that the first indicator – which it will deactivate – aims to verify that each employee takes the time to ensure that each item is correctly inspected and that they do not adopt postures likely to compromise their safety and health.

As for the second – whose trigger threshold will increase to 30 minutes – it is used to identify a continuous and abnormal failure.

In 2021, AFL’s turnover amounted to 1.135 billion euros, for a net profit of 58.9 million euros.

A subsidiary of the American giant, Amazon France employs more than 20,000 permanent employees, some of whom work for Amazon France Logistique, which manages large warehouses including eight distribution centers.

© 2024 AFP

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