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Category Archives: E-Commerce

FTC Investigation Into Amazon Prime Dark Patterns Intensifies

“The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly deepened its investigation into Amazon’s employment of dark patterns in the Amazon Prime subscription cancellation process. As EPIC explained in a complaint to the D.C. Attorney General last year, Amazon employs dark patterns to deter customers from canceling their Prime subscriptions, enabling Amazon to continue collecting, retaining, and using misdirected subscribers’ personal data. EPIC’s complaint built on prior research by the Norwegian Consumer Council. EPIC and coalition partners have also urged the FTC to investigate Amazon and Google‘s use of deceptive user interfaces. According to Business Insider, the FTC has subpoenaed some current and former Amazon employees as part of its investigation.”

What We Gain from a Good Bookstore

The New Yorker – It’s a place whose real boundaries and character are much more than its physical dimensions. “…You may have heard that we’re experiencing a renaissance of the independent bookstore, but the situation is far from rosy. In 1994, when Deutsch started his career as a bookseller (and Amazon was founded), the U.S.… Continue Reading

The Founder of GeoCities on What Killed the ‘Old Internet’

Gizmodo: “David Bohnett on what sets the social web apart, how GeoCities handled hate speech, and the profound need to log off more often. In the early aughts, my wheezing dialup connection often operated as if it were perpetually out of breath. Thus, unlike my childhood friends, it was near to impossible for me to… Continue Reading

Educational publisher Pearson will sell textbooks as non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

UK Guardian: “Textbook publisher Pearson plans to profit from secondhand sales by turning its titles into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), its chief executive has said. Educational books are often sold more than once, since students sell study resources they no longer require. Publishers have not previously been able to make any money from secondhand sales, but… Continue Reading

The Default Tech Settings You Should Turn Off Right Away

The New York Times – “These controls, which are buried inside products from Apple, Google, Meta and others, make us share more data than we need to…Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft generally want us to leave some default settings on, purportedly to train their algorithms and catch bugs, which then make their products easier… Continue Reading

FCC Probes Mobile Carriers on Data Privacy Practices

“Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote [July 19, 2022] to the top 15 mobile providers requesting information about their data retention and data privacy policies and general practices. In the letters of inquiry, Chairwoman Rosenworcel asks about their policies around geolocation data, such as how long geolocation data is retained and why and what… Continue Reading

‘A uniquely dangerous tool’: How Google’s data can help states track abortions

Politico: “Many of the states rushing to ban abortion are also the biggest users of a surveillance tool that authorities could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from people’s phones. Supporters of abortion rights are expressing growing alarm about the potential uses that police or prosecutors could find for this… Continue Reading

The email ‘hack’ that will change your relationship with your inbox

Fast Company: “I just reset my email. Took my unread count down to zero. Archived or deleted everything that was sitting in my inbox. And everything feels different now. More than any other possible binary the world presents us, I believe there are precisely two types of people in this world: those whose unread email… Continue Reading

Up to 90% of governmental websites include cookies of third-party tracke

IMDEA Networks: “Researchers Matthias Götze (TU Berlin), Srdjan Matic (IMDEA Software), Costas Iordanou (Cyprus University of Technology), Georgios Smaragdakis (TU Delft), and Nikolaos Laoutaris (IMDEA Networks) have presented at the ‘Web Science Conference’ the paper: “Measuring Web Cookies in Governmental Websites”, in which they investigate governmental websites of G20 countries and evaluate to what extent… Continue Reading

How browser cookies make people more cautious online

Fast Company: “Website cookies are online surveillance tools, and the commercial and government entities that use them would prefer people not read those notifications too closely. People who do read the notifications carefully will find that they have the option to say no to some or all cookies. The problem is, without careful attention those notifications become… Continue Reading

New Firefox privacy feature strips URLs of tracking parameters

Bleeping Computer: “Mozilla Firefox 102 was released today with a new privacy feature that strips parameters from URLs that are used to track you around the web. Numerous companies, including Facebook, Marketo, Olytics, and HubSpot, utilize custom URL query parameters to track clicks on links. For example, Facebook appends a fbclid query parameter to outbound… Continue Reading