User complaints have forced Amazon.com to modify one of its services that creates customised best seller lists for certain categories such as companies, regions and government institutions.
Purchase Circles will now enable companies and individuals to exclude their book, video and CD selections from the scheme, which analyses the purchases made by Amazon.com's 10.7 million strong user base and creates top ten lists based on information from no fewer than 200 customers.
The lists are categorised according to region or organisational type such as companies, education, and government.
Warren Adams, Amazon’s director of product development, said: "While the vast majority of feedback from our customers indicates that Purchase Circles have been well received, some customers have expressed concerns, so we're letting people decide individually."
Amazon.com claimed the service would enable authors, musicians and video producers to track the popularity of their works across certain groups of people.
But analysts said that the the uproar added a new dimension to the knotty issue of online consumer privacy.
A bulletin from Zona Research, explained: "This opens the issue of whether data aggregate groups such as individual companies or common interest organisations, also have rights to privacy. We believe this sounds a cautious note for those Internet players that may have similar plans in the works."
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