This is page 2 of:

Amazon’s Latest Patent: Guessing Religion Based On Giftwrap

January 4th, 2012

The Amazon filing continues: “Users may be matched to users and/or communities based on their Web browsing and search histories across the World Wide Web or based on other types of non-catalog-related events that may be tracked via a computer network. Other categories of items that may be represented in the catalog include, but are not limited to, consumer electronics, software, tickets for entertainment events, tickets for travel, sporting goods, gourmet food, magazine subscriptions, articles and Web sites. The items represented in the electronic catalog may also include or consist of services, such as but not limited to cellular phone services, Internet access services and Web site hosting services. Many thousands or millions of different items may be represented in the catalog.”

How about some religious affiliation guessing? The filing suggests drawing conclusions from things such as “the giftwrap used by such other users when purchasing gifts for this user, such as when the giftwrap evidences the user’s religion”—in the case of Christmas or Hanukkah giftwrap, for example.

How about finding compatible body cycles? Amazon wants to track “the time of day at which the user typically engages in online activity, the location (e.g., city) or locations from which the user accesses the matching service or otherwise engages in online activity, as may be determined reasonably accurately based on IP addresses associated with the user computing devices, any blogs, RSS feeds, E-mail newsletters and/or other content channels to which the user subscribes; the user’s item rating profile, which may be collected, e.g., by systems that provide functionality for users to rate particular items represented in an electronic catalog and the user’s ‘reputation’ for supplying high-quality item reviews or other content as determined based on votes cast by other users.”

Amazon also wants to track “travel preferences, as determined based on online ticket purchases; the user’s cell phone usage; the user’s music download history; news articles selected by the user for viewing online; the television programs selected by the user via an online television programming guide used to program digital video recorders; information about how the user has redeemed loyalty points associated with a credit card, frequent-flyer program or other loyalty program; the user’s preferences for particular types or clusters of search results on search results pages, the user’s credit-card transactions. Data regarding these and other types of user behaviors may be collected, and incorporated into the matching process, via automated processes such that the users need not affirmatively perform any action to supply the matching service with such information.”

Not sure if this friend-finding service—or gift-giving effort—will ever launch, but I can be sure of this. Amazon has just given a wonderful gift—and made a lifelong friend—of every privacy advocate in the country.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.