The Prime Day offer was pretty straightforward: Download Amazon's desktop browser extension and get $10 off orders of $50 or more. The benefit: "Receive notifications about deals you're watching."
But is that all there is?
Amazon, after all, is a company that tracks your every click, to keep better tabs on how you purchase, monitors what TV shows you watch and apps you open through the popular Fire TV streaming stick product and follows your location on smartphones.
To Jeremy Tillman, the president of Ghostery, an ad-blocking browser extension, it's the deal of the century, and a really poor one for consumers. Amazon is "banking on the fact that users have no idea how valuable their data is and the fact that they won't properly understand this transaction."
On its website, Amazon says the data it collects includes URLs, search terms, search results, page metadata and limited page content from websites "for which we may have relevant product or service recommendations."
So what this means to the consumer is that by installing the browser extension, you've just given a tool to find out so much more about you when you're not at Amazon.com.
would be interesting to create a browser extension that blocks all Amazon Web Services sites for the strike
— alex wennerberg (@alexwennerberg) July 15, 2019
"This is the equivalent of accepting $10 to allow Amazon employees to follow you around everywhere you go, carefully taking notes on what you do, what you buy, when you buy it, what you say to your friends, etc.," Tillman says. "They then take all of these notes, these personal details, and use them to figure out how to sell more to us. When you consider it that way, it’s easier to understand that this isn’t just harmless background activity occurring as you browse – you really are giving corporations a direct look into all of your preferences, habits and vulnerabilities, and in this case, for just $10."
Bennett Cyphers, a technologist at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation told Reuters that this type of data is often used "to train machine-learning models to do better ad targeting."
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How do you stop Amazon from snooping on you as browse the web on your computer?
Turn off and disable the extension.
On the Amazon help page, it says as much, telling consumers it can disable "the relevant Amazon Assistant features in your Amazon Assistant settings." Which basically means, to disable the feature completely.
In a statement, Amazon said the company "only collects information from websites customers view where we may have relevant product or service recommendations. We do not connect this information to a customer’s Amazon account, except when they interact with Amazon Assistant.”
Prime Day ended Tuesday, but the browser extension will live on. Consumers should expect more offers in the future to download it.
Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amazon wants to give you $10 for access to more data. Is it worth it?