Amazon.com to share customer information

Amazon.com risks PR nightmare with decision to share customer information
Written by Will Knight, Contributor

Customers of retail giant Amazon.com are being notified that their personal information could be shared with other organisations despite growing consumer concerns over privacy.

The Internet book retailer amended the privacy notice on its Web site Thursday to inform customers that the personal information they hand over could be passed on to other companies.

"As we continue to develop our business, we might sell or buy stores or assets. In such transactions, customer information generally is one of the transferred business assets," reads the online small print. "Also, in the unlikely event that Amazon.com, or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will of course be one of the transferred assets."

Amazon requires that customers submit their email address when they create an account. The retailer records details about customer shopping habits once they have an account, using cookies and by logging browsing. Amazon stores information including a user's IP (Internet Protocol) address connection information as well as preferred browser and operating system.

The ownership and use of personal information obtained through the Internet has become a hotspot of controversy since Internet marketing company DoubleClick announced plans to market information about the sites that Internet users visit. DoubleClick has since joined the Privacy Leadership Initiative, an organisation geared towards tackling the controversial issue of online privacy.

Amazon launched as an online book seller in July 1995 and has since grown into an online shopping portal for music, video and more diverse goods as well. The company has a customer base in excess of 20 million in over 160 countries.

Amazon.com was unavailable for comment at time of posting.

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