It sounds like France isn’t a huge fan of big companies like Amazon that spy on every little thing their employees do as an attempt to increase efficiency. Something that the US might be able to learn from since this kind of thing run rampant here.
Amazon makes use of a enhanced scanning system that is meant to track packages as they move through its warehouse locations. So the company can efficiently keep an eye on how things are moving and where any product is at any given time during its ordering process before shipping it off. Which, in itself, doesn’t sound like a bad thing.
However, France’s regulators (CNIL, or National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) are saying the system is also used to closely track worker performance and efficiency. Thus also keeping an eye on those who take excessive breaks or aren’t moving fast enough for the company’s expectations. The system tracks everything down to the second, applying pressure to said workers.
So France insists that the company is using the information to pressure workers to work harder and justify every little break they take. And that the company holds onto this data for extended periods of time that seem excessive. Amazon says the charges are bogus but the investigation has led to a €32 million euro fine ($35 million USD) fine against the company.
Employee surveillance is nothing new, but things can easily get out of hand if companies aren’t kept in check. If allowed to do whatever they want, many of the world’s largest companies wouldn’t hesitate a moment to push their workers to move faster, break less frequently, and hold the data above their head as a source of control.
Of course, if Amazon wasn’t being abusive with this information (pressuring or sanctioning workers), it really is a little hard to say if the company was in the wrong for sure or not. It could simply be trying to get an idea of how efficient physical workers are when compared to things like AI and/or robots. Not that this wouldn’t be scary in itself since job security instantly comes to mind. In the end, laws are laws and companies need to stay educated/aware of such when moving into foreign territories that don’t share the same rules and values.