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Amazon accused of dirty tricks

by on10 January 2020

Don't call me honey

Amazon has been slammed for dirty tricks after it labelled Honey "a security risk" for shoppers over the holidays.

Wired reports: "Honey tracks your private shopping behaviour, collects data like your order history and items saved, and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit," the message read. "To keep your data private and secure, uninstall this extension immediately." It was followed by a hyperlink where users could learn how to do so. Screenshots of the warning were posted to forums and social media by Honey users,

But Honey isn't some obscure browser extension from an unknown developer. Founded in 2012, the Los Angeles-based startup now boasts over 17 million users. It finds discount codes to save shoppers money at tens of thousands of online retailers, including Amazon.

Amazon's warning, which began appearing on December 20, confused and angered many of Honey's users, some of whom complained on its official social media channels. The browser extension has been compatible with Amazon since it was founded, and it is a significant part of Honey's appeal.

Amazon declined to explain why it decided to label Honey a security risk so suddenly last month. "Our goal is to warn customers about browser extensions that collect personal shopping data without their knowledge or consent", a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. It declined to answer follow-up questions about the basis for that claim. Honey says in its privacy policy that it doesn't "track your search engine history, emails, or your browsing on any site that is not a retail website". 

"We're aware that Droplist and other Honey features were not available on Amazon for a period of time. We know these are tools that people love and worked quickly to restore the functionality. Our extension is not -- and has never been -- a security risk and is safe to use", a Honey spokesperson said.

Of course the fact that Honey was recently bought out by Amazon rival Paypal has nothing to do with it.

Last modified on 10 January 2020
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