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GDPR: German laptop retailer fines video surveillance employees € 10.4 million

GDPR: German laptop retailer fines video surveillance employees € 10.4 million

Data regulators in Lower Saxony, Germany, have told local laptop retailers a whopping € 10.4 million ($ 12.5 million) for keeping employees under constant video surveillance for the past two years without legal grounds. I was fined.

This penalty is one of the largest fines imposed under the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) not only in Germany, but throughout Europe.

The recipient is AG (which operates as NBB), an online e-commerce portal and retail chain that specializes in selling laptops and other IT supplies.

The Lower Saxony Data Protection State Commission (LfD) announced two years ago a video surveillance system in warehouses, sales rooms, and common workspaces to prevent and investigate theft and track product movement. Said that it was installed.

According to authorities, the video surveillance system was always active and recordings were stored in the company’s database for up to 60 days.

However, retailers believed that they were running a mediocre video surveillance solution, as seen in many other companies across Germany and around the world, but German data regulators said it was Germany. We have determined that it is a serious infringement of the rights of our workers.

Continuous video surveillance violates privacy rights

“We are working on a serious video surveillance incident at our company.” Barbara Tyr saidIn a press release earlier this month, we’re heading to LfD Lower Saxony.

“Companies have to understand that in that way Intensive video surveillance they are Significantly infringes employee rights.. “

German data regulators have argued that employees do not need to waive their right to privacy because they suspect that their employer may commit a crime in the future.

“If so, companies could expand surveillance indefinitely,” Thiel said.

German authorities say video surveillance should not be used as a “deterrent” to prevent crime, but only if the employer has legitimate suspicion of a particular employee. Insisted. In such cases, employees could be monitored for a limited period of time before the allegations were confirmed, and could not be monitored for years in a row.

“Theoretically, video surveillance is a particularly focused infringement of an individual’s rights because it allows us to observe and analyze the entire behavior of a person,” Thiel said.

LfD managers are exposed to the ongoing stress and pressure of employees taking as unobtrusive actions as possible to avoid criticism of their actions for continuous video monitoring. Said that.

In addition, the German data regulator said the NBB recorded customers without their consent without their knowledge while testing their devices in the sales office. This represents another serious privacy breach.

LfD officials have no legal basis for retailing, not only because of the above reasons, but also because of the fact that they could not implement other methods to prevent theft, such as random bag checks of customers and employees. He said he fined the vendor for ongoing video surveillance practices. Leave their premises.

The NBB describes the fine as “irresponsible and at the same time wrong.”

But, PDF statement Oliver Hellmold, CEO of NBB, said the fines and accusations of monitoring employees, published on the website, were unfounded.

“There was no video system designed to monitor employee behavior and performance. It wasn’t even technically equipped,” says Hellmold.

NBB CEO has accused the LfD Lower Saxony office of fraud. He claimed that authorities did not visit the facility during the three-year investigation, and that NBB had previously adjusted the video surveillance system at the request of the office to comply.

In addition, Hellmold said he would call for a fine disproportionate to the size of the company and appeal.

“It’s ridiculous for authorities to impose a fine of more than € 10 million without fully investigating the matter. Apparently, an example would be made here at the expense of our company,” he said.

This is the second fine that the same LfD office imposed on the company for video surveillance employees.Formerly Hamburg-based data regulator Fined fashion retail chain H & M € 35.3 million ($ 42.6 million) A similar crime last October, keeping employees under constant video surveillance.