Privacy groups target Amazon again

Arguing that Amazon.com is not doing enough to protect customer privacy, two privacy groups are urging state and federal regulators to force the e-tail giant to live up to past privacy promises and allow customers to view and delete their personal records.

In a letter the groups plan to send Tuesday to consumer protection regulators in 14 states, the District of Columbia and at the Federal Trade Commission, Junkbusters and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) praise state regulators for discussing privacy issues with Amazon and with getting Amazon to commit last month to clarifying its privacy policy. But that revision, completed last week, did not resolve the primary "inadequacies" of the policy, the privacy groups say.

Amazon still holds the option of selling its customer database and it refuses to give customers access to all the data it holds on them and refuses to delete their past purchase records, the privacy groups charge. Amazon should be made to reverse all these stands--and submit to an independent audit of its compliance with its privacy policies, the groups say.

"This is necessary because the company's actions have shown that it should not be trusted," the groups say in the letter, a copy of which was seen by CNET News.com.

Junkbusters and EPIC are focusing on Amazon because of its pre-eminence as an online bookseller, said Junkbusters President Jason Catlett. Customers' reading habits should be kept private, and Amazon is not doing its part to ensure that they are, Catlett said.

"It's a very fundamental freedom to read without fear of having what you look at held against you," Catlett said. "It's simply not right that people's reading habits are kept forever against their will, particularly when Amazon has decided that it might sell them in the future."

View: The full story

News source: C|net

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