Feeds

Amazon 'plans world's biggest personal data stash'

And tries to patent it too

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Amazon.com is investing in IP to create the largest database of personal information ever gathered by an online retailer, according to a report in its local paper.

The database would, the Seattle Post Intelligencer suggests, mingle information on sexual orientation and race, as well as purchasing habits.

And to prove it's serious, the newspaper reports, it's patenting the idea.

Patent application 20060178946 ("Providing gift clustering functionality to assist a user in ordering multiple items for a recipient") was filed last December and published last week, although it has yet to be granted.

The patent application is simply the latest in a long line of database mining techniques for online ordering filed by Amazon.com, and is no more intrusive than many other over-reaching patent applications. Amazon has patented, or attempted to patent, search histories, gift certificates, and customer reviews. In the aftermath of AOL's release of search queries from over half a million users recently, it is however, a lot more topical.

A suggested implementation of Application '946 includes data such as "education levels, genders, income levels, interests, races, ethnicities, religions, occupations, sexual orientations", which could not be accurately inferred from a user's purchasing history, and could only be gained from external sources or information volunteered by the Amazon user.

Amazon told the PI it has no "immediate intention" to create such a database.

Privacy groups in the US last week renewed their calls for search engines and commercial retailers to wipe their databases clean. They were joined by Sen Edward Markey (D.Ma) who earlier this year tabled legislation to outlaw data retention, as cable companies are already obliged to do.

The bill, HR 4731, The Eliminate Warehousing of Consumer Internet Data Act of 2006, has won little support in Congress. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?