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New Super-sized Customer Database for Amazon? 131

dtjohnson writes "Amazon.com has applied for a patent to create an online customer database which would allegedly contain 'massive amounts of intimate information about its millions of shoppers, including their religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and income.' From the article: "The database, which would combine information disclosed voluntarily by customers with facts gleaned from public databases, conceivably would give Amazon a larger or more detailed profile of its customers than any other retailer. Does this cross the privacy line or is it just reasonable data gathering to make retail sales more responsive to customer needs?"
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New Super-sized Customer Database for Amazon?

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  • Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:36PM (#15894622) Homepage
    Amazon's pending patent, which would bar competitors from replicating the company's process for gathering information
    Let me get that right: If I have nothing to do with Amazon then no-one else can do the same thing? Looks like a small price to pay.
    • Funny, but no (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Toba82 ( 871257 )
      The US government can infringe any patent [bitlaw.com] - they just have to pay you when they do it. I guess Amazon is going to take over the world now. Oh well.
      • Re:Funny, but no (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:13PM (#15894801) Homepage
        Yes, but they also have to be able to collect the data. On past performance they would simply ask Amazon for it.

        They already asked Yahoo and Google for the contents of their databases. Yahoo (and maybe some others) said Yes. I do not know if Amazon would go the same way - probably yes - but if I avoid them then this should mean that no-one else can pull that stunt.

        If Amazon were to lay down cast iron guarantees that they would only use this patent defensively - they said they are some years away from implementing such a database - then I would take them off my blacklist.
        • Re:Funny, but no (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:48PM (#15894950) Journal
          They already asked Yahoo and Google for the contents of their databases.
          Amazon's A9 search engine used to be partnered up with Google, but they kicked 'em to the curb around May 2006 and brought Windows Live Search onboard as a replacement.

        • I can guarantee you that if this is anything BUT defensive, any transactions between Amazon and I will never see the light of day. Funny thing is...I've held out this long because of the rediculous "one-click: patent that they really believe is innovative. Amazon's absence from my shopping list hasn't mattered- AT ALL. Yes folks, there is life beyond Amazon.
    • Nothing (no one) will stop Amazon from sharing (selling) its data with other companies.
      • Re:Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @02:53PM (#15895153) Journal

        "Nothing (no one) will stop Amazon from sharing (selling) its data with other companies."

        Actually, they better not try this with their Canadian partnerss, or they'll find the backlash to be vicious. Including expensive audits and damages paid to anyone whose info has been collected.

        YOu're simply not allowed to collect and hold information that has nothing to do with the actual transactions with your customers. And you're not allowed to collect information, beyond name, address, and telephone number, for anyone who isn't a customer. "Data mining" and collecting for irrelevant stuff such as sexual orientation has been illegal up here since January of 2004.

        Even information that was collected with yur consent can't be "re-used" for any other purpose.

        Also, they have to supply anyone who asks with a copy of their file. Could be expensive and embarrassing for Amazon.

        As for prior art, here in Canada HRDC (a gov't agency) did this - a HUGE database with all sorts of information - and was forced to drop it when 29,000 Quebecers sent in requests for their files in one week as a protest. Compliance costs $$$$.

        If Amazon wants to lose their contract with Canada Post, let them go ahead with this.

        • How convenient to be Canadian. :D
        • This is similar to the EU position. It could be defeated in the same way, a coordinated request for information by a significant number of users.

          Bear in mind that while individual retailers hold information on your purchases with them your bank has the data on all your purchases with everybody you ever signed a cheque or credit card slip to.
          • The bank doesn't have ALL the data for purchases made by cheque - just the payee and the amount. They can't even say it was for purchases you made - perhaps you were paying someone else's bill as a favour.

            Also, as of January 2004, the bank can't be notified as to the individual items purchased - just the customer account, retail account, time, date, and the amount billed.

            The retailer is allowed to keep records of exactly what was purchased, in case of customer complaint, warranty service, etc., and bec

    • Dude first of all you have totally missed the point of the patent. Amazon is ALREADY collecting information about their users as are ALL online retailers. Your creditcard and your bank probably do the same thing so get over it, your privacy DOES NOT EXIST. The big thing here is that while Amazon used to provide everyone with a nice API to use their system and get information, now they are probably going to start charging people for the right to use the API in custom applications and Amazon's ideas would als
    • It's really:

      All your (data)base belong to us.

  • It Certainly Does (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greatcelerystalk ( 981442 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:37PM (#15894625) Homepage Journal
    Of course it crosses a privacy line, for me at least. When I shop at Amazon.com, I generally know what I want to buy already, and I very rarely pay any attention at all to Amazon's recommendations. I think this is a case of Amazon trying to over-extend itself; I shop Amazon for the low prices and the hassle free shopping experience, but if they do begin asking for too much information, I will have to take my business elsewhere.
    • Re:It Certainly Does (Score:5, Interesting)

      by davevt5 ( 30696 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:07PM (#15894764) Homepage Journal

      While there are many "techie" people like greatcelerystalk who know what they want, we have to keep in mind that Amazon is selling to the entire spectrum. My mom, new to computers this year, finds comfort in the Amazon experience. It's an entire shopping mall--just what women love (yes, I am generalizing). So shoppers who know what they are looking for, or are simply buying on price, may not use the recommendations, I would suspect that a significant, if not majority of the population may be enticed to buy something. I admit to having purchased several books that were recommended to me.

      Now, the more significant issue revolves around the depth of the information Amazon is amassing on you and me. Sure, you can learn just as much about me from my blog [davidcatalano.com] or slashdot journal [slashdot.org], but that's my choice. I recognize that Amazon has stated "opt-in" information. But when was the last time you read a EULA or the Privacy Policy page for NewEgg? You can be opted-in to just about anything. Then, personal private data is stored, waiting to be hacked into or. Or better yet, published [slashdot.org] in [techcrunch.com] the [google.com] name [informationweek.com] of [techtarget.com] research [slashdot.org]!

      Ultimately, this trend will not stop. Twenty years ago, had people known the level of personal information that we would be storing today, they would have had the same reactionary quivering that we feel today. It's simply the unstoppable progression of technology integration into human life.

      • > While there are many "techie" people like greatcelerystalk who know what they want, we have to keep in mind that Amazon is selling to the entire spectrum.

        The "entire spectrum" compromises anyone that can pay, including human right abusers.
    • Of course it crosses a privacy line

      How so? By collating data that either you've given them directly, or is publicly available from elsewhere? I see no privacy concerns there. It's nothing that anyone else couldn't already do. Indeed, it's the sort of thing that private detectives do on a regular basis. And for that matter, IT security consultants.

      No, privacy is the least of my concerns here. The real issue is that they think it's patentable. Err... correlating data from multiple sources. Because obviou

      • by eddy ( 18759 )

        By collating data that either you've given them directly, or is publicly available from elsewhere?

        Oddly, if I were to do the same thing with say FBI agents, that wouldn't go over so well, would it?

    • There's no privacy line when you're asked for the information, given a choice, and you take the pill.
    • Their information collection can't be that effective, because I usually get recommendations for books that I've already bought from them.

  • by irtza ( 893217 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:39PM (#15894639) Homepage
    wait, I thought Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Walmart, Credit card companies and the devil already built this database! Plenty of prior art.
  • Let's see how he likes it. He probably likes furries and 18th century miniatures.
  • to think if they have a leak like AOL did.
  • I, for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by kjones692 ( 805101 ) <the.cyborganizerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:43PM (#15894652)
    ...welcome our new, omniscient, Amazonian overlords.

    Death by snu-snu!
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:43PM (#15894653) Homepage Journal
    Yes it does.
  • It is not any more than days, countable by one hand's fingers that we hear another horror story about some institution losing their members'/customers' sensitive information, putting them in the risk of their identity beong stolen, I am not sure which gennius at Amazon though of this idea and thought it would fly. Also, even if you do it, at least do it in privacy of your company, so that the casual script kiddie will not be after the contents of database. But applying for a patent to run the "Big Brother"
  • In context... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eaglej ( 552473 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:47PM (#15894668)
    Five years ago I might not have had a problem with a company trying to build a database like this. Free market - find what you will and whatnot. But unfortunately, I think any responsible company has to look at today's political climate, and consider the question: given an over-reaching, probably unconsitutional, and completely illegal, but well-enforced subpoena by the government, how much damage could our data do in the wrong hands? Are we prepared to fight such an action all the way to the supreme court if it comes to that? And what if the supreme court makes a corrupt decision? Sad, really.
  • Would be unaffected by this. Why? Because they somehow believe they are "above" the normal consumer and they are not affected by advertising, promotions, marketing gimmicks and other stuff that is the "science" of retail marketing.

    So they have nothing to fear.

    The rest of the world should expect a far better shopping experience from Amazon because they are going to know when to pitch the gay-pride book vs. the religious tome. This undoubtably will result is significantly better profits for Amazon and woul
    • by Foobar of Borg ( 690622 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:09PM (#15895387)
      The rest of the world should expect a far better shopping experience from Amazon because they are going to know when to pitch the gay-pride book vs. the religious tome.

      What about people who read both? Seriously, why is there this assumption that owning and reading a book somehow means you believe and accept the ideas presented therein? Some people actually like to read around and get a deep understanding of a lot of different ideas. Even if you disagree with something, you should at least understand it well instead of relying on propaganda.

      Which brings me to my next point...

      We might have a 20 year pause before the patent expires.

      It's not a patent, it is only an application, so there is nothing that has to expire. This rather obvious concept has been explained a bazillion times on Slashdot, but almost no one posting under this article seems to understand it. You can apply for any stupid damn thing you want. Even, say, a resurrection burial tomb [uspto.gov].

      What I think would make for a great Backslash section is revisitting these old applications that give Slashdotters apoplectic fits. See if a patent is granted or if it is ultimately is abandoned. If it is granted, see how narrow or how broad the actual patent protection is. Then, there would be more informed bitching and complaining than the usual infantile "P@+3n+s are teh suxx0rs! W00+! W00+!"

    • ...except spam and identity theft. Whee.
  • Great stuff (Score:3, Informative)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:50PM (#15894685) Homepage Journal
    Of-course there is no way [msn.com] that a company can do something stupid [techcrunch.com] and cause evil [siia.net] (pdf) with data like that.
  • Business Models... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @12:51PM (#15894689) Journal
    The privacy issue aside, it is interesting to see how these companies are utilizing data mining to more accuratly predict a products 'success.' I mean will there come a day when a person creates the next widget and it can be determined within minutes that the widget will be best sold for $5.00 to maximize purchasers in the 18-35, married, hetro-sexual, non-christian, males, living within 12 miles of a large body of water, who rent a home, and own one vehicle. Then company 'A' can offer you X dollars for the widget patent based upon those numbers.

    So going to write the open-source algorithm(s) for this?
    • Well, I bought a book on psychology once from Amazon since it was something I was interested in. A week or two later, I'm getting ads for liability insurance for those in the psychiatry profession. Maybe it is a coincidence, maybe not. But, it illustrates the difficulty in targetting people. Just because I am in a particular demographic doesn't mean I give a flying fuck in a rolling donut about what they assume I should care about.
  • F them. They will get nothing from me but fake info.

    Fight corporate facism with fake info!!!!!!

    (Except for my cc number, of course. ) :)

    • by JazzLad ( 935151 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:03PM (#15894745) Homepage Journal
      Yes, stick it to the man. Buy items you have no interest in to mess with their database.

      -
      Don't blame me if your humour is insufficient.
    • And if you use disposable credit card numbers [com.com], then even that will be useless to them after your purchase.

    • You're right. Stick it to them! Show them what you think about them by giving them more money! They only have your name, address, phone number, email address, credit card number, purchasing history, etc.

      The problem is that most geeks are just consumer whores like everybody else, and often worse. As long as you can pinch those precious pennies, it really doesn't matter what the big companies do, huh? Just keep giving them your money for more worthless Chinese plastic trinkets. Smart. Real smart.
    • Barnes and Noble has yet to not have a book I've wanted.

      Plus, I get free shipping there...and they don't spam my inbox with 'reccomendations'.
  • on privacy in order to make as much money as possible.

    In EU, a private company can not ask which religion a person has. It is illegal and
    most Europeans consider it a serious breach of privacy open to abuse.

    As a matter of fact, in several EU states you are may deduct from the tax money paid to
    a church. But many Jews does not do this because of Europe and the rest of the world's
    long history of pogroms and persecutions[1]: similar registers was used to round up Jews
    to murder. Europeans are aware of this, but A
    • In EU, a private company can not ask which religion a person has.

      Bullshit. Kindly produce evidence and point at the law preventing me or any other private party from asking you what your religion is.
      BTW: What religion are you? Now go sue me!
      • > In EU, a private company can not ask which religion a person has.

        >> Bullshit. Kindly produce evidence and point at the law preventing me or any other private party from asking you what your
        >> religion is.
        >> BTW: What religion are you? Now go sue me!

        You sure must be an American exposed to some quality Kansas public education.

        I wrote "In EU", and far as I know EU is not part of USA.
        • You sure must be assuming I'm not from the European Union. Will you now please answer the question, oh Clever One?
          • > You sure must be assuming I'm not from the European Union.

            Most Europeans, unless they watch too many US movies and television series,
            would not use the phrase "So sue me!". Frivoulous and harassing law suits,
            combined with limits upon damages awarded, along with loosers pays all expenses
            sure curbs much of those abuses.

            > Will you now please answer the question, oh Clever One?

            I will not deprive you of understanding something by searching for it
            yourself. There is Wikipedia and Google for your perusals. W
            • > Frivoulous and harassing law suits,
              > combined with limits upon damages awarded, along with loosers pays all expenses
              > sure curbs much of those abuses.

              Shit should learn to read before presing the submit button: Of course,
              "Frivoulous and harassing law suits" are frowned upon in EU.
            • Aw shucks, I won't be rich anytime soon, then. But I'm still waiting for you to tell me what religion you are. I promise I won't go all holocausty on you.
              OMG did I just offend your delicate sensitivity? Maybe we should make a law against this. Maybe we could do one better and curb the problem at the source: yeah let's just introduce thought crime and be done with it.
    • In EU, a private company can not ask which religion a person has.

      I assume you're thinking about an employment situation. They can ask you if it is directly relevant to the job.
  • So now in addition to my name, address, phone number, credit card number, purchase history, favorites, wish list and a list of every product that I've ever looked at on Amazon, every Amazon partner will have info about my "religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and income."

    Put a couple of part time programmers on the project, tie it in with my Google search history and the gov't's various Total Information Awareness databases and you hardly need me in the loop anymore.
  • by RickPartin ( 892479 ) * on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:03PM (#15894747) Homepage
    How do I polute the database with bogus information about me?
    • Re:So my question is (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xugumad ( 39311 )
      Well, I'm quietly considering that I frequently buy things for other people (gifts probably account for the majority of what I buy from Amazon, and occasionally I buy stuff for someone who doesn't have a credit card, and they pay me back in cash), and thinking what that must have done for my profile.

      Certainly, it recommends some _really_ odd stuff from time to time...
      • Remember the hype about "my Tivo thinks I'm gay"? Tivo would come up with some weird programming based on what was watched, not taking into account there might be multiple people watching it. They've gotten much better about that now, though its still not perfect. I can tell they are tracking between units if you own multiple Tivo's too because when I setup my second box I set it up to record completely different types of shows but it started recording all sorts of home improvement shows that I had previ
      • They seem to be working on that problem:
        Gift Organizer [amazon.com]
        But, I don't know if it ties back into recomendations yet.
  • Illegal. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:05PM (#15894753) Homepage Journal

    Based only on the blurb, this database would almost certainly be completely illegal within the EU (Directive 95/46/EG, unless it's obsolete).

    • Last time I looked, the EU parliament was fighting over Software Patents. For the third time.

      Put not your faith in European Institutions, for they can be subverted.
    • The database could be made to 'fit' within the lawful processing purposes of some member's states implementation of the EU directive.

      Both the EU directive and preceding convention attempt(ed) to reflect some breadth by catering for diversity, but narrowly applied interpretations together with the wider out-of-the-box implementations/application have demonstrably served to formalize more constrained images of the 'best' route to follow.

      If there is nothing to worry about provided any given algorithmic paramet
  • storing this amount of personal information for a fucking _shopping site_ is illegal in my country.
    • storing this amount of personal information for a fucking _shopping site_ is illegal in my country.

      I would hope so . . . that's definately the kind of shopping info that I'd want to keep to myself!

  • by keyboardsamurai ( 536273 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:17PM (#15894815) Homepage
    After Germany's experience during second World War, it became apparent that information about sexual orientation, religion, race and social ancestry are mostly used to do evil things. Hence in Germany there are laws that (in some circumstances) prohibit the use of such information.
  • by ankhcraft ( 811009 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @01:23PM (#15894840) Homepage
    Wondering whether or not this crosses the line is, in fact, quite irrelevant. None of the data elements mentioned in the report were gathered illegally, and theoretically, could be available to any enterprising company. We need to stop expecting companies to be any more respecting of our privacy than we have previously asked them to be.

    They're using data which was voluntarily given to them by customers, and data which is publicly available on the web. If you really expect a company to not use any of this type of information for marketing purposes, you're being exceptionally naive.

    The information is available, is completely legal to use, and some of it was even voluntarily given directly to Amazon by it's customers. The only thing which could ever prevent anything like this from happening in a case like this or at least limit it's use, would be to pass new laws limiting the usage of such information. Or, just don't voluntarily give information to companies if you don't want them to use it to market to you.
  • Haven't censuses been doing this for centuries?
    • Haven't censuses been doing this for centuries?


      Last I checked, the census doesn't care about your sexual orientation. Not even sure it's legal for them to ask that question, actually.
  • "voluntarily" give all this information to Amazon anyway? (I'm talking about CORRECT information!) Unfortunately, probably tons of people. Too many folks are way too eager to spill their guts to anyone who asks. Sad.
  • The patent linked in the article is about clustering gift orders in a client/server network, or some similar business practice. I did not see anything about aggregating customer information. A careful reading of the article's text shows the security expert is stating a hypothetical ("If Amazon ...") conclusion, not directly criticizing the company, though said expert has been acutely critical of Amazon in the past. The Electronic Privacy Information Center website does not mention this news.

    As a confi
  • Is it just me or doesn't MySpace already do this? Of course - the shopping stuff
  • I presume that they already keep track of what I have bought and searched for, so let's skip that.

    { RANT #1
    Let them infer what they like, when I buy a book for someone else, and they find that someone who buys books on sailing also buys books on gardening, let the correlate away.

    And, in case any one from Amazon bothers to read slashdot, I really don't think I've bought much if anything suggested by their web site. I go to Amazon and use the search function. REALLY I do know what I am looking for right now m
  • I'm fine with them using data for marketing. I'm not fine with it being used against me.
    There's a clear line between using data to advertise to a person more efficently, and using that same data to persecute, or even blackmail that same person. What one person trusts with Amazon they wouldn't trust the government with, and with good reason.
    Unfortunately, since the government is so corrupt these days, you can't trust anyone with the data now, since it's just a subpeona away from being in the hands of the gov
  • Really. If you're willing to *honestly* fill in a form that discloses your religion, sexual orientation, etc., on the internet, you deserve to have that information disseminated. Posting on the internet is like shouting in the public square. Everyone has the right to do it, but don't complain when someone remembers what you said.
  • About time the US caught with the EU/UK on Data Protection Legislation then.....

    Not that the UK's is perfect, but its better than the Nothing in the US.
  • She said the data could end up in the hands of the myriad retailers that do business with the company, or with government officials or hackers.

    Or dentists ... or auto mechanics ... or accountants ...

    The list is endless.

    It shouldn't surprise me, but sure bugs me that everytime some big corporation decides they need to patent a new way of tracking and selling (or "accidentally" releasing to the world at large) information most (?) would prefer to keep private, the corporate media finds a way to make it sound

  • Amazon is claiming to have invented something the NSA has been doing for YEARS, on an even larger scope (i.e., non-public databases, too).
    • Actually the NSA isn't allowed to collect this type of information on US citizens. Luckily for them there are many companies who can legally gather said information and turn around and sell it to the governemtnt; see Choicepoint, Axicom, Lexis-Nexis, TransUnion/Equifax/Experion.
      • I should have indicated that my comment was tongue-in-cheek.

        There have been numerous stories over the past 12 months or so about how the government is compiling data from publicly available databases (much like Amazon claims to have invented).

  • Does this cross the privacy line or is it just reasonable data gathering to make retail sales more responsive to customer needs?

    Companies don't gather personal data for no reason. They have to spend resources to collect and handle this information, and unless they're getting some kind of return on that investment it would be a dumb thing for them to do.

    How do they get a return on investment? By selling more stuff.

    So yes: the company will use this information to be more responsiive to customer needs.

  • I am sure the CIA has prior art on large people-tracking systems. However, they would have to kill the patent examiner if they revealed to him/her their prior art.
  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:42PM (#15895295) Homepage
    Case and Point: Those stupid cards you have to carry just to have the privalege of paying the normal price on goods at supermarkets. I go to Albertsons and up until a year ago they did not have one of these stupid cards. Then the actress who plays Raymond's wife on "Everybody Loves Raymond" comes on my TV to announce the "good news" that Albertson's is getting a club card. If she was standing in front of me when she announced that I would have punched her right in the nose. Why is it good news that I have to carry another silly useless card in my wallet or on my keychain just to be able to pay the normal prices. And for what? So Albertsons can collect demographic information on me? No thanks!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And for what? So Albertsons can collect demographic information on me? No thanks!

      So give them bullshit information. If you pay full price instead of taking a 10 to 25% discount, it goes straigh to their bottom line. Your cash, your call.

      At Safeway, I was once unable to come up with the card and my phoone number came up dry. (I think I originally put it in before my area code got changed.) So the clerk grabs one off the counter and says, "Use this one."

      Anyway, they get my name off my CC, but if I pay cash,

    • The good news about the albertsons cards is you didnt have to provide any information at all not even made up information to recieve the cards.

      Thats not to say that they couldn't cross reference it with creidt or debit crds if they really wanted to, but the stupid card itself required no information.
  • As it is, Amazon's and other companies "recommendations" are generally unappealing to me. If Amazon having all this information will help make recommendations that really am interested in, then I'll gladly give out these kinds of publicly available and generally harmless data. So long as they don't share the information and they provide easy ways for me erase the data that I give them. If I were to buy a book about woman's health for my girlfriend, I wouldn't want 100 "recommendation" asking me to buy other
  • by caluml ( 551744 )
    religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and income.'

    Atheist, straight, caucasian, £30-50k. What's so scary about that?
  • In 1999, I literally got this once on Amazon
    "Customers who bought titles by Johann Sebastian Bach also bought titles by these artists:

    Secret Garden
    Andrea Bocelli
    Andreas Vollenweider
    Yanni
    The Village People"

    Couple of extra data points would not hurt...
  • Create a user name that's derived from somebody you don't care for, maybe Darl McBride, or Jeff Merkey.

    Then search for books on facisim, or sexual perversion, or how to make bombs, or something.

    If enough people did it, their database would be useless.
  • The database, which would combine information disclosed voluntarily by customers
    voluntarily huh? Voluntary as in survey or voluntary as in tracking cookie?
  • The concern about Amazon being about to collect such data is obsolete. Surely Amazon has already been collecting such data, and now is merely trying to patent such activity. They do not need to get a patent before using the technology (although companies often avoid making their technology public until protected by patent).
  • I chuckle to think that Amazon.com will soon think I'm a person with multiple personalties. One enjoys game programming, handheld video games, speculative fiction novels, and trance music. Another enjoys drawing manga, books on pagan religions, and alternative music.

    Perhaps it is unfortunate that my better half and I use the same Amazon.com account....

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