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CDNow privacy

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This blog post is over 22 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

CDNow’s new privacy policy is simple and to the point. instead of using legalese, they have made it easy to read and understand what they plan to do with your information. One thing I especially like about their privacy policy is that if they change it, they won’t use any of the information affected by the change without asking you first.

Updates to our Privacy Policy that would affect how we treat your personal information will not apply to information collected before we made the update, unless we first obtain your consent.

That’s a big deal. It is not easy to design a system that segments information in that way.

The other interesting point behind the privacy policy is this:

Please note that because a customer information database is customarily considered a business asset, CDNOW shall have the right to transfer it in a merger or sale of some or all of its company or in an action for bankruptcy. Your information will continue to be treated in accordance with this Privacy Policy by the acquiring or merged company unless you are notified and provided an opportunity to opt of any changes.

Now besides the typo here (it should say "opt out of") this is good. If the company is bought, the will make it a condition of the sale that the new company has to adhere to this privacy policy. If the new company doesn’t want to, they have to give you the chance to remove your information from their customer database.

Amazon got in trouble over this last September. They changed their privacy policy to say that your personal information, shopping history, friend’s names and addresses, and all other information they have from you is their business asset and they can sell it if they want, no strings attached.

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