The largest e-commerce is currently running a promotion for US shoppers on Prime Day. Prime Day is a 48-hour marketing blitz where shoppers get amazing deals. In addition to this, Amazon is offering a $10 credit to shoppers if they let the tech track the websites they visit.
The new installation of the Amazon assistant is a comparison-shopping tool that customers can add to their browser. With this tool, customers can view Amazon’s price for the same products that appear on Walmart.com, and other shopping sites. The whole idea is to help customers quickly compare prices, which of course will give Amazon an edge in order to make theirs prices more competitive than their competitors.
For this tool to work, the assistant will need access to user’s web activity, including all the links they check. Amazon explains that this data will help the company improve its marketing and deals it offers with products and services.
Amazon is offering a free service in exchange for sensitive information which could be used to place them ahead of their competitors. This strategy explains how consumers are freely giving Amazon and other big techs the power to pry into their data. With this, Amazon can tailor their marketing and maintain its position as king of e-commerce.
Bennett Cyphers, technologist at the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that Amazon uses the data to target their audience in which case there are no laws restricting what any company does with the data they harvest.
“This data is often used for training machine learning models to do better ad targeting, but in the US, there aren’t really restrictions on what you can do with this kind of data.”
Although Amazon didn’t share how it uses the data it collates from users, a job listing for an affiliated team called Browser Integration Technologies said that whatever information it harvests “spans across advertising and marketing, pricing and selection.”
The US lawmakers have been strict with big techs about the information they obtain freely from consumers. “When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold. Those free products track everything we do,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley said in a statement in a bill that was introduced in June.
The bill proposed that big techs should divulge every information they obtain from users on their platform.