EPIC logo 


September 13, 2000


Leading Privacy Organization Cites Change in Policy


WASHINGTON, DC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced today that it would end its relationship with Amazon.com, the Internet's largest bookseller and one of the most closely watched companies in the online economy. EPIC had previously sold its publications and the publications of others in association with the Seattle-based retailer.

In a letter to EPIC subscribers, Executive Director Marc Rotenberg cited the recent change in Amazon's privacy policy as the reason for the organization's decision. "Because Amazon announced that it could no longer guarantee that it would not disclose customer information to third parties, and in the absence of legal or technical means to assure privacy for Amazon customers, we have decided that we can no longer continue our relationship with Amazon," said Mr. Rotenberg in a letter that went out over the Internet today.

In 1996 the Electronic Privacy Information Center became one of the first Amazon Affiliates, Internet-based organizations that began selling books online in association with the retailer. Mr. Rotenberg said that at the time he believed that the new business model would benefit consumers and protect online privacy.

In 1998 EPIC joined the Amazon Advantage program. Through the program, EPIC sold such publications as the "Privacy Law Sourcebook," its annual reports on "Privacy and Human Rights" and "Cryptography and Liberty," as well as "Filters and Freedom."

Mr. Rotenberg said today that the problems with Amazon will affect an increasing number of Internet customers in the years ahead unless strong legal and technical safeguards are established. "We are witnessing the slow erosion of online privacy under the industry's self-regulatory approach."

Sarah Andrews, Policy Analyst, said that EPIC will immediately end its ties with Amazon and find a new way to distribute EPIC books and other materials on privacy, free speech, and related topics.

"Our subscribers will still be able to order all of EPIC's publications directly from us," said Ms. Andrews.

This week the group plans to release the "Privacy Law Sourcebook 2000: United States Law, International Law, and Recent Developments" and "Privacy and Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments."

EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. The web address for the EPIC Bookstore is http://www.epic.org/bookstore.

- 30 -