Privacy and Security in Ecommerce

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May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden

Privacy, protection of privacy and security are extremely important part of any ecommerce site. Properly established features builds trust and increase the chance of the company to survive on this competitive and rapidly changing market.


As indicated by Amazon Privacy page, Amazon promises to keep the privacy of the information collected from its customers safe and secure. Amazon collect information regarding to the following points:

Information: Amazon collects personal information about its customers to complete purchases. Name, surname, address, credit card details, date of birth.

In Site Activity: Amazon follows and records activities done by the customers such as searches, items bought, mail traffic to customer service, wish list items, participating in discussions and product reviews. All these information is used to personalize shopping experience in Amazon unique to each customer.

Automated information gathering: Amazon gathers information from its customers automatically such as IP addresses, login time, mail address, password, time zone, language preferences, operation system used, purchases and history. They also use flash cookies to collect/store information and fraud prevention. Cookies store personal information related to each customer about their interests, pageviews, “1-Click” purchases, preferences. amazon use this information to prepare custom advertisement for each of its customer. They also rely on javascript software tools to obtain information regarding to sessions, page responses, page visit durations, interactions with a page such as clicks, scrolling and mouse movements.

Mobile: Amazon collects information about location of the customer using mobile carrier services. They provide information that this service can be turned on/off depending on the customers choice.

Other Sources: Amazon collects information from other sources as well such as delivery situation, address information from shipping companies. Amazon also works with third party merchants and they provide information to these sellers who use Amazon’s platform.

Information Sharing: Amazon shares the information gathered about its customers with its subsidiaries such as stores operates in Amazon platform, or people provide offerings via Amazon. They also provide information to the business they co-branded with such as “Starbucks, OfficeMax, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, J&R Electronics, Eddie Bauer and Northern Tool + Equipment” as described by amazon privacy page (2014). Amazon outsource some of its functions to third parties such as order fulfillment, delivery, mail and email distribution, data analysis, credit card payment system and customer service so obviously they share customer information with these parties.


Amazon provides very strict policy about securing customers private information. They provide SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt information during the input and transfer. They also ask customers to verify the last four digits of the credit card number during the purchases, except “1-Click” purchases. Amazon also part of the Safe Harbour Program.


Just like Amazon msnbc also collects information about its customers such as name, e-mail, newsletters subscribed, games, purchases,participationS, chat room usage. They provide detailed information about information collected, how to use this information and provide details about their security measures.

Personalinformation: They warn customer about the information provided by the users such as name, surname,address, telephone number, email address. They also let customers to decide whether to provide these information to benefit the services provided by the site such as subscription to newsletters, promotions and special events.Their main idea behind collecting information related to customers is to improve the site according to customers need. They also underline the fact that collecting information is necessary to prevent possible fraud attempts,  protect the privacy of the users and to provide technical support when it is needed.

They do collect information when user connected to the site via mobile phone such as device type, version, location. also stores information about the games played on their site to enhance user interaction.

They have a clear section about “Children Privacy” which i believe very useful and trustworthy. They do not collect any information below age of 13 and advises ages 13 to 18 to read the privacy statement with their parents.

They integrated social media to their site and provide sufficient information of media use on their site.

Just like other sites, uses cookies to collect information such as number of new visitors or returning visitors, interaction with pages, visit duration. They use this information to develop unique experience for each user and develop new technologies.

How and when to share information:  shares the information collected by NBCUniversal and other affiliates and they promise the security of this information during the sharing process. NBCUniversal is a global company so they provide adequate warning about to its customers that information might be shared by other countries.

They also share information with their service providers such as database maintainers,  Web site hosting, credit card payment process.


Security provides technical and maintain safeguards to protect its site against misuse by the users. They warn customers about the the fact that information sent is not always safe and can be intercepted by third parties. is an online employment site so the information that they collect and use is different that Amazon and msnbc. They do collect resumes and share this information with its customers.

Privacy collects information such as name, address, email, telephone number, credit card details, detailed background information such as education, work experince, awards, skills, activities, marital status, interests. They collect information from third parties such as asking and collecting references. According to Privacy webpage (n.d.) information regarding to “Age, gender, race and  ethnicity” is on a voluntary basis. They collect automated information about the users such as IP address, location, browser, mobile operating system, device ID. They claim to use this information for personalization and technical assistance.

monster uses the information provided by its user in the  following purposes: to create a custom page for each user, custom and location based advertising, share it with the third parties, provide newsletters and career advice, job postings relevant to users profile, recommend users profile to possible employers and more.

Security has a similar security policy like They warn customers to safely guard their username and password and warn users about interception during the information sending process. They warn customers about fraudulent mails appears coming from them. They are a part of the Safe Harbour Program.

References: Privacy Notice (2013),(online), Available at: [Accessed at:21.3.2014]
Privacy Policy (n.d),(online),available at: [Accessed at:22.3.2014]

Your Privacy Rights (n.d),(online), available at: [Accessed at:23.3.2014]


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