Amazon, the renowned online marketplace, faces a mass claim for privacy violation as it tracks visitors' online behavior even after leaving the platform without obtaining proper consent. Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland (SDBN), a privacy foundation, has initiated the claim, alleging that at least five million Dutch customers have been affected by this practice. This article delves into the details of the claim and the concerns raised regarding Amazon's data processing practices.
This is not the first time Amazon has faced criticism for privacy violations. In 2021, the company received a record fine of 746 million euros from the Luxembourg privacy regulator for breaching European rules on data processing. The recent claim by SDBN further highlights the company's alleged disregard for privacy laws.
Amazon is accused of installing 'tracking cookies' on visitors' devices without their explicit consent. These cookies are small files that clandestinely track the internet behavior of users. Anouk Ruhaak, the chairman of SDBN, explains that these cookies are placed before users have the opportunity to accept or reject them, and even if rejected, they persist on the device. The foundation claims that Amazon primarily collects data through these cookies when users browse other websites and apps, subsequently passing this information on to Amazon.
Through this covert tracking, Amazon gains insights into users' visited websites and viewed content. They can also track the usage of other apps through their mobile app. Armed with this knowledge, Amazon can tailor targeted offers and advertisements based on the user's profile. It is worth noting that this profile is allegedly stored in the US, contravening European privacy regulations.
Despite the previous record fine, Amazon has appealed the decision, and no significant changes have been observed in its practices. This lack of response from the company suggests that it finds it more advantageous to persist with its current operations. SDBN, therefore, plans to pursue legal action or engage in negotiations with Amazon based on the company's response to the claim.
Dutch Amazon customers who believe they have been affected by the privacy violations can join the claim. However, assessing the personal damages suffered by individuals is challenging. In similar cases, compensations have ranged from 250 to 2000 euros, but it is too early to determine the exact amounts in this instance.
Amazon has stated that it adheres to all legal requirements in its countries and is currently reviewing the claim. The outcome of this case will likely have implications for Amazon's data processing practices and its adherence to privacy regulations in the Netherlands and other jurisdictions.
The mass claim against Amazon for privacy violation highlights the concerns surrounding the company's tracking practices and the unauthorized placement of tracking cookies. With millions of Dutch customers potentially affected, it is crucial for Amazon to address these issues and ensure compliance with privacy regulations. The case also serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges in protecting personal data in an increasingly digital world.
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