Amazon.com's Brave New Privacy Policy

By David Matthews, OpinionPoint (ink2.com)
September 18, 2000
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I believe that this action by Amazon.com underscores the very essence of the concern that is expressed in the series. My correspondences with amazon.com follow:

At 04:13 AM 9/1/00 -0700, legalnotices@amazon.com wrote:
Dear Customer,

We have just updated Amazon.com's privacy policy and, because privacy is important, we wanted to e-mail you proactively in this case and not just update the policy on our site, as is the common Web practice. Thanks for being a customer and allowing us to continue to earn your trust.

To read the updated Privacy Notice, visit: http://www.amazon.com/privacy-notice

Thanks again for shopping at Amazon.com.

Sincerely,
Amazon.com

PS: We hope you appreciated receiving this message. However, if you'd rather not receive any future notices of this sort from Amazon.com, please send an e-mail message to nolegalnotices@amazon.com. Please be aware that even if you choose not to receive these updates, they will still cover your use of Amazon.com.

Sirs:

Thank you for your legal notice that you intend to disregard my personal security and sell or otherwise make available private information about me.

I am sure that you have only my best interests at heart and only want to provide the best possible services and shopping experience, but I would rather not be sold out to the first buyer with a dime to by my profile.

Please delete all information about me and my purchases from any and every database that you are in any way associated with. I insist that you remove any personal purchase information immediately, leaving no trace of any transactions or page views that I have ever executed via amazon.com.

Please notify me at this address of compliance and legal assurance that such has been effected.

-David Matthews

At 03:41 PM 9/4/00 -0700, terms@amazon.com wrote:
Dear David,

Hello and thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com with your concern.

Please rest assured that Amazon.com is not in the business of selling customer information.

We have developed, and may continue to develop, business relationships and co-branded sites with other online companies (such as drugstore.com and toysrus.com). We will make it clear when an affiliated merchant is involved in any transaction you may make via our web site. If you would prefer not to share your personal information with an affiliated merchant, you may choose not to participate in any transactions with these merchants.

In the unlikely event that Amazon.com Inc., or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will of course be one of the transferred assets.

Customer privacy is an issue we take very seriously at Amazon.com. Our commitment to protecting customer information and ensuring the security of every transaction remains the same as it always has been.

However, our business has grown and evolved significantly since the time we posted our previous privacy policy, and we wanted to be sure that our privacy policy continues to accurately reflect our business practices now and in the forseeable future.

Our revised privacy policy provides more details about the limited ways that we collect and share information--we think this is good for our customers. We realize that you make a choice when shopping on our site and providing us with information, and we want all of our customers to make an informed choice to do business with Amazon.com.

If the terms of our privacy policy are unacceptable to you, we will assist you in closing your account. Once your account has been closed, it is no longer accessible by you. You would need to start a new account if you wish to place future orders with us. Please note that we cannot totally remove account information from our system, as it is part of our business transaction records.

If you would like us to close your Amazon.com account, please write back to us at account-close@amazon.com.

I hope I have answered your questions. Please let us know if you have any further concerns, and thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

Best regards,

James Nobis
Amazon.com
Earth's Biggest Selection

James Nobis: [Mr. Nobis; please note that the content of our e-mail correspondence will be incorporated into an opinion article]

I figured amazon.com would insist on retaining the right to betray my privacy. It is the exact scenario I have written about for two years. Thank you for irrefutably confirming this sad "New Economy and Internet" paradigm for me, and everybody else. -David Matthews

MIRANDA WARNING-

Please note the statement: "In the unlikely event that Amazon.com Inc., or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will of course be one of the transferred assets."

This statement is due primarily to the fact that amazon.com is in a significant "sell" posture due to a very uncertain future, and is preparing to be acquired. Your purchase profile and history will be sold to a buyer, who will resell it and resell it and resell it ...

While Amazon.com is the largest .com to be on the rocks, it is certainly not the only one. Many, if not all, e-commerce and .com operations will find themselves in the same position as amazon.com. They will change their stated privacy policy and sell out their customers without the slightest hesitation.

The series "Miranda Labels" calls for world governments to develop a Global Bill of Rights that protects the privacy of individuals from companies such as amazon.com and all others. It is perfectly clear that companies will not protect consumers.

Additionally I requested that any information amazon.com has compiled about me be disclosed (like freedom of inforamtion act) and sent to me:

James Nobis;

Inasmuch as amazon.com has significantly modified the privacy policy since I first agreed to it, would you please be so kind as to provide me with a copy of the privacy agreement that was in effect at the time that I first established an account at amazon.com?

Also, since you will not delete my personal information, I believe that I am entitled to see exactly all details you have compiled about me and my purchases and use of the amazon.com web site. Would you please be so kind as to provide me with all details that have been collected about me since my account was opened?

Also, since you insist that you make every effort to assure privacy, can you please give me a detailed accounting regarding who has had access to my account data, for what reason and when and to whom any sale, rental, exchange or other use of my personal data has occurred.

I know that you are interested in my privacy and in the ideology of openness and fairness that is the basis of trust in the e-commerce world. Please send by e-mail to me; or if the file is too large, please advise me and I will indicate the mailing address where it can be sent.

Thank you, David Matthews

Amazon.com has not responded to my request.

David Matthews
Domain Chief, Ink2.com
Ink2.com is a free opinion wire service reaching 10,000 editors worldwide. Read and post "Letters to the Editors" worldwide free at http://ink2.com


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