Feeds

FTC blesses Amazon's privacy sleight-of-hand

Never say 'never'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has officially disdained a petition from Internet watchdogs the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Junkbusters, which asked that Amazon be investigated for deceiving customers when it changed its privacy policy last September.

At issue was the company's sudden decision to cease allowing customers to opt out of having their personal details shared with marketing outfits and Amazon partners. Previously, customers could opt out by sending a blank e-mail message to 'never@amazon.com'.

The word 'never', the December petition reasoned, gave customers a reasonable expectation that their opt-out decision would be honored permanently.

The FTC reply, dated 24 May by Commissioner Jodie Bernstein, regards this as a lot of theoretical nonsense.

"Although Amazon's revisions to its privacy policy are subject to various interpretations," Bernstein writes, foot pressed hard against the soft pedal, "it does not appear that Amazon has violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by making material changes in its information collection and disclosure practices." (our emphasis)

The idea of 'material change' is crucial here -- the operative principle being, 'no harm, no foul'. Amazon officials cheerfully assured the FTC that the company would not share customer information with outsiders, and the FTC cheerfully accepted that as reason enough to drop the matter.

A win/win situation if ever there was one. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.