September 25, 2002 5:18 PM PDT
As part of its revision of the policy, which it plans to post "in the next few weeks," Amazon plans to clarify the circumstances under which it might sell or share customer information, the company said in a letter sent to state regulators Monday. The company also plans to list the companies with which it offers joint or co-branded services and to provide more information on the types of customer information it collects from other sources, the company said in its letter.
"In sum, we believe the changes to our privacy notice will make our privacy practices and policies more transparent to customers and easier to understand," the company said in its letter.
"I'm really pleased that this company recognized our concerns and is taking actions to protect consumers," Reilly said in the statement.
But Amazon representatives emphasized that the company was not making any "material changes" in its policies or practices.
"There's no significant change here from what we did in September of 2000 except the wording," Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said.
The change was protested by customers and consumer advocates. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) charged that the change represented an unfair business practice and urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. The FTC later decided not to take action against Amazon.
After that decision, a group of state regulators, including the attorneys general of 12 states, began scrutinizing Amazon's privacy practices and has discussed them with the company.
The updates to Amazon's policy came as a result of these discussions, said Glenn Kaplan, an assistant attorney general with Massachusetts, which led the talks with Amazon. The agreement is not binding and has no enforcement mechanism, but the states expect Amazon will comply with it.