Amazon wants to pay you for your shopping data

What Do Tech Companies Do With Your...
What Do Tech Companies Do With Your Data?

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Amazon’s latest idea, a cash rewards system, offers you the chance to earn back a little money on select purchases at your favorite stores. But a darker motive lurks behind the concept’s slightly lucrative veneer: data collection.

The feature, called Shopping List Savings, is now available in the Alexa app. To use it, you’ll need to open the app before you go shopping, browse through the manufacturer’s current deals, and add them to your shopping list. You’ll then go shopping at your preferred store (anywhere that gives you an itemized receipt), purchase those items, then scan the receipt and product barcodes to finalize the offer redemption.

And within 24-48 hours (but possibly up to a week), your refund will appear directly on your Amazon Gift Card, which you can then use to purchase any eligible item on Amazon. Sounds simple, right? Well not exactly.

While you might get a few dollars (or cents) here and there on random purchases, it’s not exactly the deal you can sign up for. Why? Through this application, Amazon will receive a large amount of information, free of charge and on a regular basis, not only about the purchase data of the participants, but also about the prices in these other stores.

Amazon states in the feature’s Terms and Conditions that, “By opting in to the Alexa shopping list savings program, we will obtain any information you provide, including images of receipts and information we may extract from those receipts.” receipts, and the offers you activate. You understand and acknowledge that your personal information may be shared with Amazon service providers. The information you provide to us will be used and shared as described in the Privacy Notice.

So, to be clear: You’ll need to take a photo of your entire receipt every time you want to redeem any of these offers, and you’ll share it with Amazon. The company not only learns the prices of the products you marked on the app, but also all the other items you bought that day. That’s more data on what other places charge for items. Y it’s more data about your personal buying habits.

The company does not share any additional details about how it will process that data, or whether it intends to anonymize the data. While there are other apps and services that offer similar benefits (and likewise take similar data sets), this effort by Amazon is highly concerning, thanks to the fact that Amazon doesn’t promise to anonymize your data or share what it plans to do with it. . . Among other things, this could help Amazon lower prices at other stores and help you build a profile on the kinds of things you (or people like you) tend to buy at a particular store.

It’s… a little creepy. All we can say is make sure you agree to that offset before you use the Shopping List Savings program.

Source: Amazon via Engadget