The French personal data monitoring body announced Tuesday that it had imposed a fine of 32 million euros (CA$51 million) on the company that manages Amazon group warehouses in France for using an “excessively intrusive system” to to monitor the performance and activity of workers.
The National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL) said the system allowed Amazon France Logistics managers to track employees so closely that it led to multiple violations of strict European Union (EU) rules. ) regarding confidentiality, called the General Data Protection Regulation.
“We strongly disagree with the CNIL’s conclusions, which are factually incorrect, and we reserve the right to appeal,” Amazon said.
“Warehouse management systems are industry standards and are necessary to ensure safe, quality and efficient operations and to track inventory storage and package processing on time and according to expectations customers,” added the company.
The watchdog’s investigation focused on Amazon employees’ use of scanners hand-held devices to track packages at different times as they move through the warehouse, such as being crated or packed for delivery.
Amazon uses the system to manage its activities and achieve its performance goals. However, according to the regulator, the system was different from traditional methods of monitoring workers’ activity and put them under “close monitoring” and “continuous pressure”.
The monitoring body mentioned that the to scanknown as ” stow machine gun ”, allows the company to monitor employees to the “second,” because it flags an error if items are scanned too quickly — in less than 1.25 seconds.
The system is used to measure employee productivity as well as “idle periods”.
However, under EU confidentiality rules, the CNIL says it has “deemed illegal the establishment of a system that measures interruptions of activity so precisely and leads to the employee potentially having to justify each break or interruption”.
The CNIL also criticized Amazon for keeping its employee data for too long, saying it did not need the “tiny details of the data” generated by the devices over the last month, because the real-time data and weekly statistics were enough.