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For Immediate Release
October 9, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN OBTAINS CHANGES TO AMAZON.COM PRIVACY POLICY

Internet bookseller agrees to clarify policy, and protect customer data
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that after lengthy discussions between Maryland and a coalition of State Attorneys General, Amazon.com has agreed to make wide reaching changes to its online privacy policy. One of the largest internet retailers, Amazon.com is based in Washington State and does business with consumers nationwide and locally in Maryland. The changes obtained by Maryland and the multistate coalition will protect U.S. consumers from exposure of their sensitive and personal data collected by the company.

"I am hopeful that other businesses will follow Amazon.com's lead by treating the protection of customer information as a top priority," Attorney General Curran said.

The changes include an agreement that Amazon will provide ‘grandfathered' heightened protections for any data collected under prior privacy policies, will not sell customer information to marketers, and will significantly narrow the wording of exceptions in the current privacy policy. In addition, Amazon agreed to provide more specific examples regarding how data was used, and what data the company gathers about its customers.

The settlement follows a review of Amazon's changed privacy policy by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC did not seek any changes in the new policy, despite widespread consumer concerns that the new policy put consumer data at risk. Also joining Maryland in the review of Amazon's privacy policy are the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

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