Take back control of your data on Amazon and stop the site tracking everything we do.
Amazon may not collect as much data as Google or Facebook (at least, not yet), but it still has access to vast reserves of user data, thanks to the sheer scale of its operations.
Some analysts even believe Amazon’s advertising business model could soon be threatening the dominance of its big rivals. Investment in new hardware and voice-assistant technologies, such as Amazon Echo’s Alexa, means that it may soon have access to even more of our personal information.
Your shopping basket and wish list
It goes without saying that Amazon keeps a record of all items you’ve bought over the years. But its knowledge goes much deeper than that. By analysing your shopping behaviour over time, it can work out how often you buy certain items and when you’ll need them next, sending you an email when it thinks you’re about to run out of printer ink, say. There’s not a lot you can do about this, but there are ways to limit what Amazon knows.
You could turn off your Wish List, for example. Log into Amazon, then click Your Lists, ‘List settings’ (at the top right), then, in the window that opens, tick the Remove box next to any lists you want to remove and click Submit.
Amazon also tracks your browsing history across the entire site – not just the products you buy or add to your Wish List, but any you look at. Again, this lets it pester you with product recommendations. To stop this, go to www.amazon.com/gp/history and sign in if prompted. Click ‘Manage history’ on the right, click ‘Remove all items’, then click to switch off ‘Turn Browsing History on/off’.
Which items and videos you liked
Amazon knows which products you’ve rated, and what you’ve watched via Amazon Instant Video or through the company’s now-defunct LoveFilm DVD rental service. To view these lists, click the [Yourname’s] Amazon link under the top search bar, then click Improve Your Recommendations. Under Edit Your Collection on the left, select a category – ‘Items you’ve purchased’ or ‘Videos you’ve watched’, say – then browse the list. You can tick the ‘Don’t use for recommendations’ box to the right of any items, but you can’t delete this data permanently.
You can also switch off personalised adverts Amazon shows you when you’re browsing other sites. Go to www.amazon.com/adprefs, select the ‘Do Not Personalise Ads provided by Amazon for this Internet Browser’ option, then click Submit. If you don’t have an Amazon account, you’ll still see Amazon adverts, but you can disable Amazon’s tracking cookie by going to the Your Online Choices website, as described in the Facebook section.