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The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that Amazon.com has been hit with a class action lawsuit charing that it “fraudulently circumvents users' Web-browser privacy settings to collect personal information without permission and share it with other companies.”

According to the story, “The suit says Amazon tricks Microsoft's Internet Explorer into thinking the e-retail site is ‘more privacy-protective than it actually is,’ and uses a clever work-around to collect users' personal information even if they have set their browser to block it. The plaintiffs allege Amazon knowingly and fraudulently set up its website to spoof IE, and purposefully misleads customers in its privacy policy published online.”

The suit has been launched by Amazon customers who say that after making purchases on the site, they have been bombarded by emails from companies with which they never have done business, and they say they have tracked the emails back to Amazon.

The Post Intelligencer notes that “as a class-action lawsuit, the case represents anyone who has used Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 or 8 -- with high privacy settings -- to visit Amazon.com and purchase products there. The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial, injunctive relief and monetary damages, which could be spread among millions of consumers.”
KC's View:
Two points here.

One is that if this case is proven to be true, it would amount to be a major black eye for Amazon. There’s a tremendous amount of trust involved for those of us who hand the retailer tons of personal information ... and this would shake even my faith in the company.

Second, it makes me very glad that I use Apple’s Safari, and not Microsoft Explorer.