From The Verge: Just weeks after PayPal acquired popular coupon-finding browser extension Honey in November 2019 for $4 billion, Amazon shoppers were served a notification that the extension was a security risk. The security warning was first spotted by Politico editor Ryan Hutchins, and the timing of the message, as a Wired report points out, is suspect. Honey has been compatible with Amazon for years, so why was the retailer suddenly labeling it as malware at the height of holiday shopping season?
A free extension for browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Honey scours the web for coupon codes and automatically applies them to shoppers’ orders. It also tracks prices for individual items which is especially helpful for sites like Amazon, where prices are constantly fluctuating, and multiple listings with different prices exist for the same item. So it seems especially strange that Amazon would suddenly discourage customers from using a tool that incentivizes shoppers to buy from its site.
First spotted on December 20th, the warning read, “Honey’s browser extension is a security risk. Honey tracks your private shopping behavior, collects data like your order history and items saved, and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit. To keep your data private and secure, uninstall this extension immediately.”
While the statement is technically true, it’s also true of many browser extensions. And though Honey does collect data, it’s data used for its own service, like which recent coupon codes worked on what sites. In the company’s Privacy and Security policy (which users consent to before they use the service), it states that Honey doesn’t sell personal information, nor does it track search engine history, emails, or browsing data on any non-retail site.
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