Amazon agrees to change privacy policy

Amazon.com Inc. agreed this week to make changes to its privacy policy after coming under scrutiny from consumers and regulators who claimed that the e-commerce giant did not adequately protect customer data.

In a letter received by state regulators Tuesday, Amazon said that it plans to revamp its policy to provide heightened protections on consumer data, refrain from selling its customer database to marketers, and narrow its wording of exceptions.

Furthermore, the Seattle, Washington, company agreed to provide specific examples of how data is used and what data it gathers from customers.

Amazon said that it will be implementing changes to the policy over the next several weeks.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, one of the state regulators leading the case to curtail Amazon's current policy, said in a statement this week that he was pleased with the agreement.

"It's extremely important for all companies - especially Internet sellers - to handle customer data carefully and confidentially," Reilly said.

When Amazon released the current version of its privacy policy in 2000, customers began reporting concerns which subsequently caught the attention of state regulators. Since then, a coalition of states has been lobbying Amazon to make crucial changes to its policy.

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