INDIANAPOLIS — Most people would be surprised by the staggering amount of information Amazon has collected on them.
Of course, that’s one of the reasons Amazon is generally convenient and effective. Knowing your basic information like your name, address and contact information are necessary for Amazon’s services to work.
However, more detailed information allows the service to predict your shopping interests by tracking your activity across the Amazon website, as well as other sites, including social media platforms.
Amazon is pretty straightforward about where all that data comes from: information you provide, information gathered automatically and information gathered from other sources.
Things you provide include your name, shipping address, email address, phone number and other basic details. Information gathered automatically includes your IP address, your location, your browsing and purchase history, among other things. Information from other sources could include your credit history, other devices you have connected to the internet or Alexa and social media activity.
If you want to see all the information Amazon has collected on you, here’s how it works:
- Go to the Amazon.com homepage and hover your mouse over where it says you name, “Account & Lists.”
- In the popup menu, click “Account.” That will bring up the “Your Account” page.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and click on “Request your Information.” That will bring up a drop-down menu where you can select the category of information you want to request. If you want everything, you can click “Request all your data.”
- Click the “submit” button, and you will receive an email from Amazon asking you to confirm the request.
- Once you confirm by clicking the link Amazon sent you, you’ll see a message saying your request is being processed. It could take up to a month to send you all the collected information.
While a month may seem like a long time to wait, it may not be that long. I went through the process, and it only took a week to receive all the data, emailed to me in a zipped file. It’s a lot, and I’m actually still going through it all.
However long you wait, it could be worth it if you decide you’re sharing too much with Amazon and want to make some changes.