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Amazon knows a lot about you. Are you comfortable with this or you want a way out?
“We process your personal information to operate, provide, and improve the Amazon Services that we offer our customers,” the privacy notice of Amazon clearly says this.
This explains the biggest online supplier giant, has access to a lot of personal information & the fact Amazon collects user data remains true.
It has been almost 20 years when, Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer said, Amazon tries to “collect as much information as possible.”
And as Amazon expands the data collection procedure and methods also advances. The same was quoted to BBC by a former Amazon executive in 2020 when he said, They happen to sell products, but they are a data company.”
Isn’t this all proof of how Amazon is obsessed with user data?
Not satisfied? Want more to agree with us?
What All Data Does Amazon Collects?
When users visit Amazon and make searches whether using the app or website, Amazon records every click, scroll, and mouse movement made. This helps Amazon show relevant suggestions.
Here are some of the examples explaining the same:
I searched for Digital Camera on Amazon and after a while, Amazon started showing recommendations on the sites I visited. In the second and third image, you will see Amazon started showing offers for the product I was searching for. This explains how the e-commerce giant follows us and never leaves us alone.
Moreover, the company uses recommendation technology – based on collaborative filtering. This means first they create a picture of who you are, what you want is and then they filter similar profiles like yours, to show recommendations.
You got it right, Amazon has data on every one of its customers. The retail giant knows what you buy, what you look at, your shipping address (to know your income level), and whether you leave feedback or not.
Designed to track and create a 360-degree view Amazon along with its devices like Alexa and others keeps a tab on you.
Whatever you search through Alexa, via the voice command to is recorded and devices like Ring cameras, web services, delivery services, streaming services, etc also collect data.
Also Read: Best VPNs for Amazon Prime Video
How To Access Data Stored By Amazon?
If anyone wants to see the data Amazon has on you, request it from Amazon.
The company will share a huge chunk of data it has on you as it shared with a freelance journalist Riccardo Colicine – a table with 12,048 rows detailing all the clicks made on Amazon’s website.
Submitted a subject access request to @amazon. They provided over 100 separate zip files for different categories of data – many of which were just a few kb in size. No way to download them all at once. I mean, really.
— Stephen McLeod Blythe (@stephenemm) May 3, 2021
How Amazon Collects Data?
Amazon collects data in form of recorded voice clips from Alexa, shopping history, and even all the clicks made on Amazon’s website. By making a subject access request this data can be collected.
Oh man, if you want to feel depressed complete a Subject Access Request for your data at Amazon… It has every single SKU I have purchased since 2010 when I bought an iPhone 4 case.
— Keith Petri 💾 (@keithepetri) March 11, 2020
Sara Nelson, Director of corporate data exploitation program at Civil Liberties Group Privacy International says- “The reason online shopping through Amazon is so convenient is that the company has spent years consolidating its power and reach.”
The Wall Street Journal on June 10 reported “A European Union privacy regulator has proposed a fine of more than $425 million against Amazon.com Inc., part of a process that could yield the biggest-yet penalty under the bloc’s privacy law”
Besides this, the automatic information that Amazon collects is scary. This data shares information about how you use Amazon products.
Sources Used to Collect Users Data
The data Amazon has about you comes from three sources:
- Data shared while using Amazon services, websites, Prime show, every song you listen to, Kindle books, and more.
- The data Amazon can collect automatically (phone number and location.)
- Information shared by third parties to cross-check credit accounts for.
Why Amazon Collects this data?
- To sell more.
- Learn about users’ likes & dislikes.
- Show recommendations for items the company thinks users might be interested in buying.
- Get a clear understanding of popular sellers and people’s online shopping behavior.
- Ensure the things purchased are delivered to the user.
All this explains, like Google, Amazon also knows about all the actions we take and what we do.
This leaves us with burning questions like:
Is the data safe with Amazon?
Isn’t it like Amazon is comprising with the user’s privacy?
In case Amazon’s servers are compromised then what?
What do you think can be the answer? What’s your opinion? Drop-in your answers in the comments section below.
What Amazon does with this data?
Amazon uses this data to configure your likes and dislikes and give suggestions/recommendations about the products and services based on your searches.
In a nutshell, to understand the shopping behavior of people & serve the needs to grow its business, Amazon collects the data.
But Carissa Veliz, an Associate Professor at the University of Oxford says, “Personal data about shopping is incredibly sensitive. It can tell you about a person’s health status, political tendencies, sexual practices, and much more. People buy all kinds of things on Amazon, from books and movies to health-related items. Add to that personal data from Alexa, and it gets even more concerning.”
How to Stop the tracking?
It is practically impossible to stop Amazon from tracking you because all the details you provide are required to use services offered by Amazon, without the proper credentials, users cannot take the benefit of any service.
However, using the privacy options offered by Amazon one can limit the information they share with Amazon. In addition to this, users can also activate privacy features offered by the web browser and other third-party tools, you use.
- Alexa and Ring have their privacy hubs from where you can delete recordings.
- You can turn off Amazon showcasing your personalized ads based on your browsing history
- Turn off advertising cookies because it helps the third party to store your information
- Disable browsing history on Amazon
- Use incognito mode in a browser which will act as a privacy browser
By taking these measures you can limit the information stored by Amazon. As scary as it may sound, who would have thought that creating an online account on a shopping website could lead to this. Well, if you don’t want Amazon to track you at all, then the ultimate solution will be not using the service at all and deleting your Amazon account.
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