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Amazon comes under further fire over privacy policy

Privacy groups have branded Amazon.com as untrustworthy and have urged authorities to investigate further the online retailer's privacy policy.

Despite a recent agreement by Amazon.com to bolster its privacy policy amid concerns that it did not go far enough to protect consumers' personal information, privacy advocates have called for more changes that would allow consumers to have greater control over their information. This would include the ability to keep their purchase records from being transferred and disassociate their identity from any or all transactions.

"As a general principle, bookstores should not be selling dossiers on their customers' reading habits," the letter to officials said.

Amazon reached an agreement with state regulators last month to curtail the sharing of consumer information with third parties after coming under pressure from consumer groups, privacy advocates and government authorities. But despite the deal, some privacy groups are claiming that Amazon still has not done enough to protect consumers' personal information, and are requesting that authorities take further measures to restrict the e-tailer's use of consumer data.

"Amazon actually can put its customers at greater risk than physical-world bookstores or libraries, in that the company can use cookies and personalisation technology to track not only book purchases but also book browsing," the letter said.

In their letter, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Junkbusters asked regulators to require Amazon to obtain customers' consent before transferring personal information in the event that it sells one of its business units, and allow consumers to access and delete certain purchase records or disassociate themselves from their transactions.

Furthermore, the groups asked that the retailer be required to submit to an independent audit to determine its compliance with its privacy policy, saying that the company's past actions have already shown that it cannot be trusted.

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