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Date: September 27, 2018
Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

Amazon Leaves Critical Questions Unanswered When It Comes To Protecting Sensitive Data

Senate Commerce Committee Grills Amazon Exec But Gets Few Details Whether The Tech Giant Is Selling Consumers’ Data 

Amazon refused to provide a clear response to Senator Jon Tester on whether the company sold consumers’ personal data. “We run a number of services that are information dependent. So there are complexities in the answer.” (CSPAN, Data Privacy and Protection, Amazon Associate General Counsel Andrew DeVore, 9/26/18)

Senator Cory Gardner took Amazon to task on selling personal data to Chinese brokers. “Does a particular Chinese company now have access to all related data Amazon previously stored and maintained on those assets in China?” (CSPAN, Data Privacy and Protection, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, 9/26/18)

Amazon was also grilled on its use of surveillance technology to track and store data on children. “Can Amazon’s facial recognition policy determine whether it is taking pictures of children under 13, and how does Amazon ensure that recognition in your product is compliant with the children on line of Privacy Protection Act?” (CSPAN, Data Privacy and Protection, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, 9/26/18)

The tech giant is beginning to feel pressure with scrutiny on its harmful business practices mounting. “Amazon appeared more concerned with California’s new Consumer Privacy Act because the law defines personal information as any data that could be linked to a person, including IP addresses, browser history, and geolocation data.” (GeekWire, “Amazon warns onerous privacy regulations could hinder innovation in Senate hearing,” Monica Nickelsburg, 9/26/18)

“Sen. John Thune (R-SD) asked the representatives why lawmakers shouldn’t adopt the same standards seen in Europe and California at a federal level, but none of the companies could answer. ‘That question lingers here,’ said Thune. ‘The opposition that you’ve expressed to these rules is one that can nonetheless accommodate the kind of rules that we’ve seen in GDPR and California.’” (TechCrunch, “In Senate hearing, tech giants push lawmakers for federal privacy rules,” Zack Whittaker, 9/27/18)

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The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.

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