Amazon: Personal Info May Be Shared

Friday, September 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) — Internet retailing giant is notifying customers that their personal information could be shared with other companies, an industry practice that has been criticized by consumers concerned about their privacy.

Seattle-based Inc., which sells products ranging from books to toys to hardware, posted on its Web site on Thursday a revised privacy policy telling customers the information they give is considered a company asset that can be sold.

``As we continue to develop our business, we might sell or buy stores or assets. In such transactions, customer information generally is one of the transferred business assets,'' the company said.

The company also said that ``in the unlikely event that Inc., or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will of course be one of the transferred assets.'' is not currently selling or sharing customer information with other companies, the notice said.

The issue of Internet companies selling customers' personal information has been contentious recently.

Concerns were brought to the forefront this year when Internet advertising broker DoubleClick Inc. was criticized for a plan to market a record of Web pages consumers have visited and when online retailer proposed selling its closely held customer list after filing for bankruptcy protection.

DoubleClick has joined IBM Corp., AT&T Corp. and other large companies and trade groups in the Privacy Leadership Initiative. The organization is developing a multimillion dollar advertising and education campaign.

The industry's hope is that more consumers can warm to the idea of trading their personal information, which is among the most valuable assets of any dot-com business, for services.

Amazon also advised customers that it shares information with its online partners, such as The company did not specify the type of information shared with such partners.

An spokeswoman did not immediately return a call made after business hours Thursday.