German online shop receives fine of 10.4 mio. Euro for unlawful video surveillance

13. January 2021

The State Commissioner for Data Protection of Niedersachsen (“LfD Niedersachsen) has imposed a fine of 10.4 mio. Euro on AG, a German online shop for notebooks.

According to the press release dated 08.01.2021, had been video-monitoring its employees for at least two years, including at workplaces, in sales rooms, in warehouses and in common areas, without there being a legal basis for doing so. Customers were also affected by the video surveillance, as some cameras were directed at seats in the sales area. claimed that the cameras were intended to prevent and solve crimes offences and track the flow of goods in the warehouses. In the opinion of the LfD Niedersachsen, a company must consider milder measures to prevent thefts such as random bag checks when leaving the premises. Moreover, video surveillance is only be lawful, if there is reasonable suspicion against specific persons and only for a limited period of time. This was not the case at the authority said. Moreover, the recordings of the video surveillance were stores for 60 days in many cases, which was significantly longer than necessary.

In the meantime, had set up the video surveillance lawfully and had proven that to the LfD Niedersachsen. The fine is not yet legally binding. The company has appealed the fine and published a statement on its homepage. considers the amount of the fine to be disproportionate to the financial strength of the company and defends itself against the statement that it systematically monitored the performance and behavior of its employees. The video system was at no time designed to monitor the behavior of employees or their performance. Moreover, despite several invitations by, no employee of the authority had spoken to employees in the company’s warehouses or dispatch centers.