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Things move a lot faster in the dotcom world than elsewhere, so we shouldn't be surprised that Amazon has just managed to achieve its very own FTC investigation. And how long did Microsoft and Intel have to work at it before the Feds took an interest? But things are cool in the dotcom world too, so it's an "informal" investigation of Amazon subsidiary Alexa Internet that was revealed in an SEC filing earlier this week. Alexa software keeps track of where users go on the Web, so is a possible live privacy issue. The software is also the subject of two lawsuits alleging breach of privacy. The lawsuits claim that software installed on the users' browsers secretly grabs user data and sends it to Amazon and other companies. The system records complete URLs, and ubiquitous privacy expert Richard Smith points out that these can include personal data, which could be used to associate Web use with individuals. According to Amazon and Alexa, this doesn't happen, according to the lawsuits, it does. So the FTC is looking into the matter. ®

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