Amazon launches ‘pay to pry’ feature

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(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / AstroStar)

Amazon’s new ad verification program will pay users $2 a month – if they make available what ads they see on their smartphone.

Currently, the scheme is only available to UK and US members of the Amazon Shopper Panel, a rewards program that already lets users hand over third-party shopping receipts in exchange for perks.

Those with the Amazon Shopper Panel app will see a setting to opt-in to the ad verification service, informing users that it will “collect and use information about where and when you see ads from Amazon, for example the app or website where you viewed the ad and the time of day you viewed it.”

Privacy concerns

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The ads in question can be those from Amazon directly, but also from third party companies which advertise through Amazon Ads. 

Amazon says that it uses the personal information for interest-based advertising, as well as making recommendations for certain features for shoppers to use. 

Those who sign up can opt out at any time and can delete their personal information. The company also claims that it will not share the personal data it gathers with anyone else, unless it is required for a transaction with a third party, such as a vendor on the Amazon site, or to comply with the law. 

Amazon’s history with transparency regarding personal data has been less than stellar. Last year, the company was fined close to a billion dollars for a GDPR violation, and its gift registries feature allowed anyone to gather personal information on users. 

None of this seems to have deterred Amazon from increasing its data harvesting activities, nor have similar attempts from other tech giants that subsequently failed. In 2012, Google Screenwise offered Amazon gift cards to those willing to have their network traffic monitored, and in 2016 Facebook offered gift cards to 13-25 year olds for installing a VPN that allowed the company to view web usage habits.

    Lewis Maddison

    Graduate Junior Writer

    Lewis Maddison is a Graduate Junior Writer at TechRadar Pro. His coverage ranges from online security to the usage habits of technology in both personal and professional settings.

    His main areas of interest lie in technology as it relates to social, political and economic issues around the world, and revels in uncovering stories that might not otherwise see the light of day.

    He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of London, with a year spent studying abroad in the sunny climes of Malta.

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