Details : Like Google or Facebook, what Amazon knows depends on how much you depend on its services. These days, Amazon's services are all around us. Here are some of the different types of information collected by various Amazon services.
- Amazon.com : Everything you've bought, plus the things you've just put into the cart, or searched for or added to a wish, or simply on Amazon (and Amazon sites like Zappos and Diapers .com). And they know all your addresses and the names and addresses of everyone you've ever sent stuff to.
- Fire Tablets : Amazon tablets run a customized version of Android that provides the company with a wealth of data because Google, not Google, enables browsing and the app store on devices. For searching, users can choose between Bing, Yahoo, Google or DuckDuckGo.
- Prime Video (streaming video): What you have seen, searched and searched.
- Twitch (streaming video) videos): What you have seen, searched and searched.
- Ring (smart doorbells and security equipment): For customers with a paid recording plan, Amazon stores videos for 30 to 120 days, depending on location or until a customer manually deletes the video. Recordings for those who have not subscribed to a plan are automatically deleted, unless a customer publishes a video in the publicly available app "Neighbors".
- Eero (wireless router): Eero sells one of the recent acquisitions in Amazon a mesh WiFi router system. Like any home router, the Eero device knows every website you visit, but the company claims that it does not collect or store this information. (Eero has described his practices in detail in a blog post following the acquisition of Amazon.)
- IMDB (Movie and TV Database): While this may be one of the weaker privacy concerns in the Amazon world, your taste may in movies a lot more about you.
- Goodreads (Book Centered Social Network): The focus may be on books, but Amazon also creates a social diagram of the service bookworm members, and gets more information about topics that interest members.
- Whole Foods (grocery): Now that Amazon owns the upscale supermarket, Amazon also knows your grocery list when shopping here. Whole Foods is already offering deals to Prime members who link the purchases of the best online consumers to those bought offline.
Amazon's Virtual Assistant deserves its own space because its effects are so far-reaching. Of course Alexa knows all the things you ask – but that's just the beginning.
- Amazon does not record everything you say, but begins recording when Alexa has a specific wake-up word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). However, there are cases when Alexa is inadvertently activated and collects audio that you did not intend to send to Amazon.
A controversy lately has arisen over who listens to these audio clips on Amazon for what purpose. Bloomberg reported in April that a team of Amazon workers and contractors around the world are listening to consumer conversations with Alexa and fueling concerns over a device that is constantly listening.
- Amazon told Axios that it rated only a very small number of interactions from random customers to enhance the customer experience, including improvements to speech recognition, and access to such data is strictly controlled and limited to a small number of employees.
Amazon Go : The company's cashierless businesses rely on extensive monitoring of its operations to allow customers to buy products without formal purchase. To accomplish this, Amazon uses a range of cameras and sensors to determine who takes what off the shelves.
Advertising : One of Amazon's fastest-growing companies delivers ads, proof of how much they know about you.
- Amazon says, "We create audience segments and deliver interest-based ads based on a variety of anonymized shopping activities, such as search and buying."
- Amazon says it sometimes contains information from third-party audiences to increase the relevance of its ads.
- However, Amazon does offer customers the option to opt-out by selecting the "Do not show interest-based ads from Amazon" option in their Ads Preferences page.
Amazon Web Services: Amazon's cloud computing service leads the market, accounting for 32% of global spending. As is common in the cloud industry, Amazon does not access any of the data stored by companies, except for court orders or security investigations.
- Delete your browser history . Amazon offers a few options to limit the gathering of information. For example, you can clear your browsing history and disable the capture of browser data.
- Mute Alexa and delete recordings . Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices have a physical microphone-off button that you can press to make sure there is no recording. Amazon also offers an option to delete the recordings made by Alexa.
- Choose Alternatives . No other business has as much choice as Amazon, but there are other mega-stores like Target and Walmart, as well as other options for digital media, smart home gear, and physical retail stores.
Go deeper: Read the rest of the series.