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Amazon offering up customer details to non-European companies

Treatment of UK customers could breach regulations

Amazon has found itself in hot water over the company’s policy of handling personal data.

The company's U.K. subsidiary, Amazon.co.uk, recently changed its privacy policy to warn customers that their personal data could be transferred outside the European Economic Area for processing.

Such data transfers may be in breach of European regulations on data privacy, which prohibit the transfer of personal data to jurisdictions with less strict privacy legislation, according to Simon Davies, director of Privacy International.

"It's symptomatic of this anti-privacy disease in U.S. business, where they seem incapable of respecting customers' rights," Davies said in a phone interview.
Davies wrote on Friday to Steve Frazier, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, protesting against the information transfers.

"I understand that data is transferred to the United States, which lacks adequate legal protection, and where typical business practices show a wanton disregard for privacy," he wrote.

Davies has also written to the U.K. Data Protection Commissioner asking her to investigate Amazon's behaviour and to put a stop to the cross-border data transfers.

But he didn't expect an immediate response. "I don't think she will take action on this for some weeks," he said. "We have an investigation phase to go through."


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