Feeds

Amazon 'plans world's biggest personal data stash'

And tries to patent it too

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

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
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
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.