Global e-commerce business Amazon has been fined 32 million euros (£27million) for 'excessive' surveillance of its warehouse workers. 

The fine relates to Amazon's business practices in France and was issued by the European country's data watchdog National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) 

This follows a number of similar concerns being raised by Amazon workers in the UK, who have embarked on strike action at various locations, including at the Swindon Symmetry Park site

The fine issued by the French authority specifically relates to data recorded by handheld scanners used by staff. 

The watchdog said the implementation of the system measured interruptions in activity so precisely that it led workers to have to justify each break or interruption, and was illegal.

The CNIL called the system “excessive” and also raised concerns over Amazon keeping the data collected on workers for 31 days.

In its findings, the watchdog said it did not question the need for Amazon to have some sort of monitoring system in place, given the scale and size of the company and its high-performance objectives, but said it considered the retention of all the data in question and resulting statistical indicators to be “disproportionate”.

It added that it had also identified several breaches of GDPR.

The investigation was carried out following complaints from employees and media articles that highlighted the use of the surveillance system, the CNIL said.

In response, Amazon said the inquiry was carried out without a single visit by the case handler to its sites.

A spokesman said. “We strongly disagree with the CNIL’s conclusions, which are factually incorrect and we reserve the right to file an appeal.

“Warehouse management systems are industry standard and are necessary for ensuring the safety, quality, and efficiency of operations and to track the storage of inventory and processing of packages on time and in line with customer expectations.”

This is not the first fine that Amazon has received due to alleged misuse of personal data and GDPR breaches as Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) imposed an unprecedented fine of €746 million (£636 million) after finding the company guilty of not acting in compliance with GDPR in August 2021. 

This fine is related to complaints from French privacy rights group La Quadrature du Net, who alleged that Amazon manipulates customers for commercial means by choosing what advertising and information they receive based on their personal data. 

In response to that fine, Amazon dismissed it as 'without merit'.