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How Amazon knows so much about you – and how to regain your privacy

My Amazon home page shows me how much the company knows about me and my online activities. Here we show you which privacy and security settings can help you reduce the information Amazon holds about you.

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Topic: Security
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Although I am not logged in, Amazon shows me how much it knows about me and my online activities.

Band of Brothers refers to an MP3 file in my Dropbox folder, placed there last week, and Kindle Fire is one of the terms used in a distribution list email I received recently. I have been researching Cloud drive options for a client today and my Facebook feed has been full of Comic Con posts. So Amazon knows a lot about me. How?

Amazon customises future shopping ideas for you from the information you give it on the web site. Whenever you search for an item on Amazon, buy something, talk to customer service or respond to a competition, Amazon updates the information it holds about you.

You might use Amazon wish lists, write reviews or ask to be alerted when a product becomes available. If you make a purchase with your credit card, 1-Click Ordering keeps your data.

If you are not happy with the amount of information Amazon holds about you, click through this gallery to find out what you can do to control how much of your private data it has.

Next: Click-Ordering

 

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1-Click ordering

1-Click ordering is automatically enabled for you when you first buy something from Amazon. Amazon gets information from the credit card details and shipping address you gave it when you made your first order.

If you click "Buy now with 1-Click" your order is automatically charged to the default payment method on your account and shipped to your default address. This lets you bypass the shopping cart and speeds up your order.

To change this setting, go to the "Manage Addresses and 1-Click Settings" link. You can delete addresses and payment methods as you wish.

Next: Wish List

 

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Wish List

Amazon stores information about you when you add something to your wish list. You can search for lists created by other people and add items to your own list. Amazon tracks your wishes to suggest items to you and to your friends about what you might like to receive.

Delete items from your wish list if you do not want to give this insight to Amazon.

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Browsing history

If you do not want anyone else to see what you have been browsing for on Amazon, you can delete all of your browsing history items and then turn off your browsing history for future items.

If you click this link, browsing history will be turned off for everyone who uses your browser whilst you are logged on to your PC.

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Personalised ads

If you visit a site that has Amazon content on it, such as a recommended book or item, Amazon could display interest based ads to you even when the site is not affiliated to Amazon itself.

The site could contain Amazon content or ads, it might interact with Amazon tools or use an Amazon payment service. Amazon reads your browser cookies to learn what ads you see and click on. It then provides you with more relevant ads.  

You can choose not to receive personalised ads such as ads based on your interest or the products you have viewed or purchased on Amazon.

You can also opt out from online behavioural advertising from ad networks who follow the digital Advertising Alliance’s self regulatory principles for online behavioural advertising.

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Amazon Wallet

Amazon keeps data on the payment methods you use, gift cards and other cards stored in your Amazon wallet. It also could hold information about your checking account, your drivers licence number and your social security number.

Check these settings and remove any details you want to keep to yourself.

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Product availability alerts

If you want to be notified when a product becomes available, you can sign up for an alert. Amazon will then store this information and use it to deliver targeted ads about similar products using your search history or cookie information.

You can turn off your alerts in the Product Availability Alerts page.

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Location specific information

If you use an app created by Amazon, the company receives information about the type of mobile device you use and your location. It can then use this information to give you location specific advertising, search results and other device specific content.

You can turn off location services on most mobile devices by using either Location from the Settings menu on Android, or by going to Settings, Location Services on iPhones or Windows Phone.

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Account Settings

Any information that you have given Amazon when you purchase something is stored in your account settings. If you have used a different email address, you will have more than one account. You might have added activities to your profile, stated your home city, your occupation, or filled in the "About Me" box.

Amazon will use this information to suggest relevant items for you to purchase. Amazon also allows you to connect with your friends on Amazon to enable them (and Amazon) to learn more about you.

If you are not comfortable with the information that Amazon has, use the links in your account settings page to remove any data you want.

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Cookies

You can not log on and shop with Amazon if you do not have cookies enabled. Amazon needs this information to make the site efficient for you.

If you are unhappy with this, make sure you set your browser to block all cookies, or delete cookies from your PC. Unfortunately doing this will make some sites unusable and your browsing experience will not be a happy one.

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