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Privacy 17 July 2019

Accessible, Clear, and Appropriate: An Open Letter to Amazon on Privacy Policies

Jeff Wilbur
By Jeff WilburTechnical Director, Online Trust Alliance
Steve Olshansky
Steve OlshanskyInternet Technology Program Manager

With great power comes great responsibility.

Online marketplaces, such as Amazon, are becoming increasingly common. But can consumers count on these marketplaces to help safeguard their privacy? On Monday, coinciding with Amazon Prime Day, the Internet Society partnered with Mozilla and other organizations to publish An Open Letter to Amazon about Privacy.

We call for Amazon to require vendors of connected devices to have “a privacy policy that is easily accessible, written in language that is easily understood, and appropriate for the person using the device or service.”

This is one of the five minimum guidelines we called for in a joint statement with Mozilla and Consumers International during the 2018 holiday buying season: “Minimum Standards for Tackling IoT Security.” The other guidelines cover strong passwords, software upgradability, ability to manage reported vulnerabilities, and encryption of data. However, these five guidelines are just baseline recommendations. A full set of principles addressing security, privacy, and lifecycle issues is outlined in our IoT Trust Framework.

We urge everyone involved in the production and sales of connected products to step up and help protect their customers by ensuring that trust by design – making privacy and security the default – becomes a common practice. An Open Letter to Amazon about Privacy starts with the premise that it’s essential for vendors to have a public privacy policy. As security and privacy levels rise, so will consumer confidence. Which means we all benefit.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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