Amazon

Amazon To Shut Down Free Sample Program

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Amazon has discontinued a program that would send users free samples based on the products they previously purchased, according to a report by CNBC.

Amazon began the program earlier in the year, and it included products like mascara, perfume and food items. However, the program raised privacy flags about how data was being collected and used.

“Amazon is constantly testing and launching new offerings to innovate on behalf of customers,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “At this time, we have decided to discontinue the sampling program in 2020.”

A brand that wanted to take part in the program paid about $2 for each sample, in addition to the cost of the product. 

Amazon is no stranger to privacy issues, and recently five senators wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, asking him to explain how security surveillance company Ring uses peoples’ data and videos.

Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Chris Coons of Delaware and Gary Peters of Michigan sent a letter Wednesday (Nov. 20). They asked whether the technology could be accessed by foreign entities and whether the technology posed a risk to national security.

“Personal data can be exploited by foreign intelligence services to amplify the impact of espionage and influence operations,” the letter said.

Ring is a subsidiary of Amazon, which bought the company in February 2018. The company told CNBC it’s reviewing the letter, but in a blog post it described how it works with authorities.

“Ring users place their trust in us to help protect their homes and communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” a spokesperson said. “Ring does not own or otherwise control users’ videos, and we intentionally designed the Neighbors Portal to ensure that users get to decide whether or not to voluntarily provide their videos to the police.”

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