Amazon (Also) Wants Your Data


It’s not just Facebook and Google that are after data. It looks like the e-commerce juggernaut Amazon is getting into the action as well.

This past Prime Day, Amazon offered $10 of Amazon credit for users that spent $50 and installed the Amazon Assistant extension.

Amazon Assistant is an extension for almost every common web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and more) that shows Amazon’s price for items that users look up on certain websites (Walmart.com, Target.com, etc.) Of course, to do this, the Amazon Assistant app needs access to…all your web browsing data.

There is a bright side, however. The Amazon Assistant is a browser extension for your computer only. So unlike some of Facebook’s initiatives, this would not have access to anything you do on your phone.

But, the Amazon Assistant Privacy Policy makes it clear that Amazon is collecting lots of information:

Amazon Assistant collects and processes browsing information (URLs, search terms, search results, page metadata, and limited page content) from websites for which we may have relevant product or service recommendations.

And if you are on a website and interact (click) on the Assistant extension:

When you interact with Amazon Assistant, we connect browsing information with your Amazon Account. In these cases, Amazon Assistant acts as an extension of the Amazon shopping experience and processes your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Notice

And even without connecting your browsing information to your personal account, there’s a lot of useful information Amazon can get by watching users browsing and buying habits. While it may be a bit conspiratorial, I can imagine the Assistant extension “encouraging” users to click on its icon to link browsing information with a specific person.

The bottom line, now more than ever, is to treat your web browsing information more like your other personal information and not just blindly give it out to any person (or company).


About Colin Dorman

Colin is a freelance horn player and teacher, as well as a fan of tech of all sorts, aviation, and increasingly complex flight simulators. He also enjoys beer, bourbon and fitness - but not at the same time. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, as well as right here at ColinDorman.com!