eCommerce News Australia logo
The latest digital commerce news for Aussie businesses
Story image

Is your online shopping as anonymous as you think? New research reveals shock analysis

By Mitchell Hageman
Tue 30 Nov 2021

With Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping still in full swing, new research has revealed that you may not be as anonymous as you think when you shop online.

In a study conducted by VPN Overview, the research analysed the privacy policies of some of the world's top online shopping sites and ranked them according to how much data they state they collect.

They categorised over 80 sections of data as possibly being able to affect your privacy, listing components such as IP addresses, cookies and financial status to name a few. 

Amazon took the top spot, with over 60 of the data categories being collected by the company. Many of these data categories were related to tracking spending habits and website usage while also taking customers personal and banking information.

The scope of this information ranges from the basics of name, address, and phone number to Alexa voice recordings, friend's emails, and even credit history information from credit bureaus.

AO was the second-worst, collecting 38 pieces of data from their customers, followed by John Lewis, who collected 31. Very came out at the lowest data collection tally, with only nine pieces of information collected.

Although the scope of this data collection is surprising, it is not unexpected considering the promises of large sales and the types of policies that allow companies to collect data for research and customer care purposes.

VPN Overviews' David Janssen says that it is easy to get caught up in the rush of these sales without considering the data a company is collecting, and it always pays to check what you sign up for.

"We know that these savings are tempting, and when you're in the comfort of your own home, it's easy to forget about the dangers of online shopping. Keeping your personal information private is becoming increasingly difficult in the current technological era, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are never a reason to be lax.

"Don't just tick boxes to get to the savings quicker - take your time to read what you're signing up to and whether you are dealing with a reliable retailer that upholds privacy standards."

Although VPN Overview admits that some data collection by companies can work in the customers' favour and some sites require customer data to function, they say that some companies will use all the tools at their disposal to collect data you may not want to be collected.

The company have also released a list of their top tips you can use to keep your data secure:

Disable Cookies

Third-party cookies are used to track your activity between sites, and they can create a profile on who you are and what you like. Disable these third-party cookies and delete the existing ones from your browser to help prevent tracking.

Think twice before you share personal details

Many platforms allow users to create their own personal profile with a profile picture and various other facts about their life. Before you fill this in, always consider whether the website actually needs that information for the service they offer. If you have the option, don't fill out these details and leave them blank instead.

Use a VPN

Some people think using incognito mode will help keep you anonymous, however contrary to popular belief, this doesn't work in most cases. A VPN encrypts your information and hides your IP address, meaning that websites won't be able to read your location and other bits of personal information as easily.

Full results of the research can be found at the VPN Overview website.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
eCommerce
Record number of Australians shopped online over last year
Pattern has released new research showing that in the last twelve months, a record number of Australians made a purchase online, spending AUD $62.3 billion.
Story image
Environment
Lenovo launches CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the rollout of a new, first-of-its-kind CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across Australia and New Zealand. 
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Spryker named Gartner Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
Spyker has announced it has been recognised by Gartner as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
Exclusive: Koinly makes it easy to invest in the crypto market
Koinly is a cryptocurrency tax software platform and crypto portfolio tracker used by hundreds of thousands of crypto investors and accountants globally.
Story image
Retail
AU retailers rate their states for doing business
Retailers are optimistic about economic conditions and potential for business success in their own states, despite the current economic climate. 
Story image
consumers
Data protection: How SMEs can secure online consumers’ trust
Consumers believe how a company treats their data reflects how they treat their customers, according to a new survey.
Story image
eCommerce
Online shoppers leaving cart because of high shipping costs - report
New research commissioned by HUBBED reveals 90% of online shoppers abandoned a cart due to high shipping costs, and 64% say the lack of security was a purchase deterrent.
Story image
Economics
9 in 10 retailers prepared for economic challenges this year
Some 9 in 10 retailers (86%) are prepared for continued inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending, according to new research.
Story image
Small Business / SMB
Business Australia unveils new identity after rebranding
Business Australia has rebranded to My Business with a new logo, brand positioning campaign and visual identity culminating in an online platform.
Story image
Cybersecurity
eCommerce fraud increasing pressure on businesses margins
It is vital for businesses to maximise the value of every dollar by turning away as many fraudulent actors as possible without blocking good customers."
Story image
Remote Working
Sana Commerce builds online ordering portal for Food & Dairy Co
B2B eCommerce platform Sana Commerce says Sydney wholesaler Food & Dairy Co has gone live with its ERP integrated ordering portal.
Story image
Phishing
Akamai research finds PayPal security measures utilised in new phishing scam
New research from Akamai has found that a new threat actor is parasitising benign WordPress sites to execute an extensive PayPal phishing scam.
Story image
Ransomware
Big business in cryptocurrencies and cybercrime
As of June this year, about a quarter (26%) of Australians considered cryptocurrency as a good investment, and over 36% have at one point considered buying cryptocurrency as an investment.
Story image
Data
Consumers will stop doing business over data practices
“Data privacy remains a concern for consumers when it comes to sharing their information with an online retailer with an unclear view of privacy laws."
Story image
Apps
Freshworks integrates with Google's Business Messages
"The integration with Freshworks makes it fast and easy for businesses to have conversations with their customers within the Google apps."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Workday completes IRAP and gains FedRAMP authorisation
Workday has completed the Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP) assessment at the Protected level, allowing its customers to process data in compliance with IRAP guidelines.
Story image
Accounting
Eightcap to use BlackLine system to support financial close
Global CFD Eightcap is using BlackLine's recently launched Modern Accounting Playbook (MAP) to support financial close.
Story image
CRM
Forrester names Pega a Leader in CRM Solutions 2022 report
Forrester Research has named Pega a Leader among 11 competitors in The Forrester Wave: Core CRM Solutions, Q3 2022 report.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Exclusive: SYSPRO on how ERP plays a role in Australia's manufacturing investment plan
While there is a significant drive for change, it's really down to execution, and businesses need to be prepared to find the right strategies for them to make full use of the government support.
Story image
Customer experience
Exclusive: How Accenture is changing the customer experience game
Creating highly personalised real-world customer experiences using API, near-field communication, and spatial technology is about taking a traditional experience and elevating the customer journey into a digital world.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Oracle unveils AI-powered application to automate sales
Oracle has unveiled the next generation of Fusion Sales, an application that automates sales and identifies the opportunities worth pursuing.
Story image
Fintech
SC Ventures launches fintech startup for retail banking
SC Ventures has launched Appro, a fintech startup, to simplify the retail banking user journey, aiming to foster greater efficiency in application processes for retail banking products.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Cyara rolls out comprehensive, automated chatbot feature
Cyara has unveiled new chatbot testing features with the latest release of Cyara Botium, creating a solution for comprehensive, automated chatbot testing and assurance.
Story image
Printers
Comedy legend Jimeoin fronts Epson advertising campaign in NZ and Australia
According to Epson the company’s EcoTank models now account for 74% of all printers sold in the category in New Zealand, alone.
Story image
Cloud
Sitecore caters to modern marketing teams with CMS cloud launch
"Sitecore's move towards a composable SaaS offering for creating and delivering digital experiences is in line with what marketing teams are looking for.”
Story image
Recession
1 in 3 SMEs say they wont survive 6 months into a recession
34% of Aussie SMEs would not survive more than 6 months of economic downturn, with 14% unable to survive a recession at all.  
Story image
SaaS
OpenText launches new solutions on Salesforce AppExchange
Included in this latest launch is OpenText Core Content, a Content Services platform that customers can leverage to effectively manage their content.
Story image
Forrester
SAS is a leader in anti-money laundering - Forrester
The latest Forrester report revealed that SAS received the highest score in the anti-money laundering category of 15 vendors.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
Koinly, Cointree announce crypto tax partnership
"As the cryptocurrency space continues to rapidly grow in Australia, this partnership cements their commitment to crypto investors financial literacy."
Story image
Employment
Australia's technology jobs boom continues - report
Australian tech job numbers continue to grow, with over 1.2 million people expected to be working in the sector by 2027.
Story image
Customer
Airwallex launches an online payments app on Shopify
Airwallex has launched an online payments app on Shopify, allowing merchants to integrate a gateway plugin on their online store to accept payments from their global customers.
Story image
Social Media
ActiveCampaign reveals consumers seek trusthworthy content
Consumers will engage with new brands across all channels, including online, in-store and social media, as long as the content is relevant and trustworthy.
Story image
Microsoft
Infobip’s SMS and WhatsApp services are now available through Microsoft
Infobip has integrated its WhatsApp and SMS channels through Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing.
Story image
Marmalade
Exclusive: Marmalade empowers businesses to take control of their cash flow
Marmalade has been making waves in the invoicing space across Australia with its world-first invoice payments platform.
Story image
Sustainability
Visa launches Eco Benefits solutions in Australia and NZ
Eco Benefits is a suite of sustainability-focused solutions that will help Visa cardholders better understand the environmental impact of their payments.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud achieves certified strategic status in Australia
Google Cloud says it has reached certified strategic status for cloud services under the Australian Government's Hosting Certification Framework.
Story image
Customer experience
BillingPlatform introduces new enhancements to revenue management services
Some of the new developments include hosted payment pages, and new and updated connectors to Salesforce, NetSuite, OneSource, Avalara and other enterprise systems.
Story image
KICKS CREW
KICKS CREW selects Forter to help scale global eCommerce operations
KICKS CREW has selected Forter to help scale its global digital commerce operations.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Common challenges in the evolving digital world, and how to overcome them
Five technology challenges that will help highlight potential pain points and suggest how to circumvent or overcome them on the path to a smooth digital transformation.
Story image
Payroll
Fintech software allows employees to access wages before payday
Paytime is a tech platform that plugs into payroll software allowing employees to access a portion of their earned pay before payday.
Story image
ShopBack
Forter and ShopBack enhance partnership to further prevent fraud
Forter and ShopBack have enhanced their partnership with the addition of better eCommerce security solutions for customers.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.