Privacy, Technology and Perspective
Amazon Is Shutting Down its “Alexa Internet” – What happens to its data?: The Independent reports that Amazon has decided to retire its “Alexa Internet,” a little known, but pervasive tracking service that monitors those who download or use Alexa’s browser extension software or use the Alexa website. The service’s “retirement” is effective in May 2022. (To be clear, Amazon is keeping its “Alexa” personal-assistant feature in the Echo.) You can read more about Amazon’s “difficult decision to retire” the Alexa Internet service by clicking on the following link:
And the “Alexa Internet Privacy Notice” is available by clicking on the following link:
Intriguingly, Amazon has given no reasons for its “difficult decision” to shut down the service. Presumably, the service isn’t profitable anymore, at least on a risk-adjusted basis, even where the service is collecting every conceivable iota of personal information about its uses, including – according to its CCPA notice (available here: https://support.alexa.com/hc/en-us/articles/360051150513):
identifiers such as your name, alias, email address, billing address, or IP address;
personal information, such as a credit card number;
commercial information, such as subscription history;
Internet or other electronic network activity information, including content interaction information, such as content downloads and website activity;
audio or visual information, for example a video that may be included in a public Twitter post;
professional information, for example data you may provide about your business when you sign up for an Alexa Internet account; and
inference data, such as information about your interest in Alexa Internet content or services;
We certainly wonder how Amazon would have considered the privacy-related risk “Alexa Internet” has been posing. Interestingly, a search across the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Edgar system does not include any Amazon 10-K, 10-Q or 8-K that references the service.
Given Amazon’s reliance on Big Data and its imagination in monetizing its lines of business, privacy was probably not the determinative issue to retire the service. But we cannot help wondering if it was a contributing one – especially given that privacy concerns around Alexa have been circling for at least 20 years, as you can read below:
We also wonder whether Amazon will keep the data associated with “Alexa Internet.” Its Privacy Notice is presently silent on that issue.
Hosch & Morris, PLLC is a boutique law firm dedicated to data privacy and protection, cybersecurity, the Internet and technology. Open the Future℠