Is Google's shopper-tracking program secure?
A privacy rights watchdog organization has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a new Google advertising program that ties shoppers' online behavior to their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, according to an Aug. 1 report by the Chicago Tribune .The complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, filed with the FTC on July 31, alleges that Google is now gaining access to a cache of extremely sensitive data through its Store Sales Program—the credit and debit card purchase records of the majority of U.S. consumers—without either revealing how it got the information or giving people a way to opt out. The advocacy group says that the arrangement should be audited by outsiders and may be vulnerable to hacks or other data breaches."Google is seeking to extend its dominance from the online world to the real, offline world, and the FTC really needs to look at that," said Marc Rotenberg, the organization's executive director. In turn, Google called its advertising approach "common" and said it had "invested in building a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure and anonymous." (Chicago Tribune)
Stripe processes payments for Amazon
Internet payments company Stripe has stealthily begun processing a large number of Amazon transactions—a deal that can help the six-year-old San Francisco-based firm significantly increase its activity volume, Axios reported on Aug. 1. Stripe handles tens of billions of dollars in Web transactions annually. It makes money by charging a small fee on each transaction. The low margins in the online payment business means Stripe has to process high volumes of transactions to effectively compete in the market, Bloomberg said. The deal with Amazon could help Stripe live up to its $9.2 billion valuation. (Axios)