Home Data Protection Amazon’s Recent Acquisitions Highlight the Value of Consumer Data (and the Evolving Privacy Issues)

Amazon’s Recent Acquisitions Highlight the Value of Consumer Data (and the Evolving Privacy Issues)

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Roughly two weeks apart, on July 21, 2022 and August 5, 2022, Amazon was found to have agreed to an acquisition. one medical “Human-Centric, Technology-Enabled Primary Care Organization,” ~$3.9 billion; i robot, the global consumer robotics company known for developing the Roomba vacuum cleaner was acquired for approximately $1.7 billion. These proposed acquisitions Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Scrutiny following President Biden’s 2021 presidential decree We have taken a more aggressive stance on acquisitions by large technology companies on antitrust and competition issues. FTC Chairman Rina Khan’s words “Prevents incumbents from illegally controlling emerging markets.”

Beyond antitrust issues, Amazon’s recent acquisition decision brings up a debate about the collection and secondary use of consumer information, particularly location and health data (which we have). Such data has become highly valuable in the marketplace, fueling the rise of data brokers and analytics firms that collect, share, aggregate and analyze data for insights they can provide to businesses, investors and others. . A previous blog post discussing location data related to reproductive health services was written shortly after the Supreme Court ruling. Dobbsand more generally, it was hypothesized that perceptions of the collection, sharing and misuse of location data could come under further scrutiny, and on August 11, 2022, the FTC announced, “explore[e] Rulemaking process to “crack down on harmful commercial surveillance.”A large part of this decision is that smartphones can reveal far more of a user’s personal information than most people realize, including app publishers, software developers, and web data aggregators. This is due to the fact that we collect a lot of consumer data. Through methods that many consumers may not have expected or fully understood. Since then, the FTC has hosted a virtual public forum regarding advance notice of proposed rulemaking. Commercial surveillance and data security hear from panelists and the general public.

As many of us know, Amazon already owns a number of prominent companies such as Zappos, Whole Foods, Ring and Eero, as well as its own connected digital businesses such as Alexa, Echo, Fire TV and tablets. We offer a wide range of devices. This allows Amazon (subject to certain user privacy settings) to access and analyze various types of consumer data, such as online purchases, home entry videos, web browsing and streaming history. . of individual users. Moreover, many of these digital devices are intended to interact with each other to help users build a “smart home.” For example, a user can turn the lights in her home, the camera on and off, and the thermostat on and off with the help of her voice and her Amazon Alexa device. This is made possible by Alexa’s cloud intelligence. In addition, Amazon’s personalized recommendation engine and its consumer-targeted advertising initiatives are two examples of how Amazon uses the data it collects to deliver custom experiences to users and increase overall sales. is.

The acquisition of One Medical gives Amazon an opportunity to tap into new and highly sensitive data across industries: health data. Focusing on the inefficiencies of the healthcare system, Amazon tried to enter the market with mixed results. For example, we launched Amazon Pharmacy, which offers home delivery of prescriptions, Hello, wearable fitness bands in 2020. Amazon Care, a telemedicine venture, was less successful, closed at the end of 2022 Amazon’s acquisition of primary care organization, One Medical is the company’s latest foray into healthcare. Unlike e-commerce-related consumer data, One Medical’s business includes healthcare delivery data that is considered a covered entity under HIPAA and must comply with HIPAA, state medical privacy laws, and other regulations. includes persons. When it comes to patient “protected health information”, it should be implemented to separate it from Amazon’s repository of consumer data. One Medical reiterated this point, stating: As required by law, Amazon will never share a One Medical patient’s personal health information outside of One Medical for advertising or marketing purposes without explicit permission from the patient. However, other types of health-related consumer data, such as data from wearable fitness bands, health-related mobile apps, or Amazon Prime purchases, are generally exempt from HIPAA and are not subject to HIPAA. Note that it may be of value to It’s also possible that many consumers already attracted to Amazon’s level of service will knowingly agree to share their health data in exchange for a more seamless, portal-driven level of healthcare. In addition, we may likely anonymize, aggregate, and anonymize the medical information we collect to train datasets for artificial intelligence systems and diagnostic tools. The combination of Amazon and One Medical, if successful, will spur future partnerships between healthcare networks and large technology companies to address other inefficiencies in healthcare delivery.

The iRobot acquisition, on the other hand, will provide Amazon with new and very specific data: home mapping data. Over the years, Amazon has seen a growing number of consumers interested in “smart home” or digital products to do mundane household chores they don’t want to do by hand. – Pleasant customers using a range of smart home products and services. iRobot sells various types of robot vacuum cleaners. These robot vacuums are “smart” enough to collect data about the floor plan of the user’s home and create an Imprint smart map of him. Roomba J7 series, which recognizes over 80 common objects (such as pet waste and charging cords) and sends them to the cloud for storage (depending on the device settings chosen by the customer). That information may potentially be analyzed and used to make inferences about individual users or to assist in marketing efforts. As mentioned in coverage by bloomberg, which means, for example, “The size of your home is a pretty good indicator of your wealth. A household that has nothing is a household that can sell more furniture.” Amazon sells products and makes its platform more attractive to both smart home enthusiasts and consumers who are just getting used to using digital devices related to their homes. All of this information can be an asset to Amazon, as they are in the business of doing business with Amazon.Amazon’s interest in acquiring iRobot is just one example. Many users of both Amazon Alexa and Roomba or Braava jet vacuums are taking advantage of device compatibility to use their voice to start or stop the vacuum or book their future home So both companies are already seeing consumer interest in synchronizing digital devices. cleaning.

The acquisition is still pending, and it’s still unclear how or if Amazon will use the Roomba and Braava jet data. Back in 2017, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said: emphasized iRobot does not sell consumer data. However, many privacy advocates have expressed concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot and the potential for additional consumer data to be collected. With each new acquisition and product offering, Amazon is tapping deeper into the evolving smart home and healthcare market, increasing its potential to use valuable consumer data to improve its services and strengthen its platform and profitability. increase.

As companies like Amazon continue to acquire companies that collect consumer and health information, they comply with developing privacy laws and regulations that could change the value and usefulness of such data. appropriate contractual restrictions must be in place to At the corporate level, to clarify under what circumstances, when, how, and how the company can do so, privacy policies, terms of service and further may need to change or amend the extensive User Agreement. We use personal consumer data. At the federal level, Congress continues to consider a comprehensive federal data privacy law (the so-called bipartisan law). ADPPA and the FTC has advanced its recent commercial oversight rulemaking. This is, among other things, an action that may provide consumers with certain opt-out and deletion rights for their own data. Additionally, with upcoming changes and stricter enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) expected, and the effective date of data privacy laws in other states scheduled for 2023, a significant number of consumers The Group will have additional rights to personal data and state attorneys. Generally, there are additional enforcement powers over the subject entity. Regardless of how the regulatory environment evolves, consumer desirability of personal information and data will only increase. Especially as technology and AI-powered solutions offer additional ways to gain insight and value from such information.

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