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eBay Privacy Notice Updates Take Effect December 23

eBay Privacy Notice Updates Take Effect December 23

The eBay User Privacy Notice is being updated in order to provide additional information about the kind of personal data eBay collects, processes, and shares about its customers. “It’s important to us that we keep your data safe and increase transparency about how we use it,” eBay stated in its notification email.

eBay is sending the following notice to users this week, the policy goes into effect on Thursday, December 23rd:

Dear (redacted),
We’re updating our User Privacy Notice to reflect changes that will make it easier for you to understand the personal data we collect and to give you greater control over your personal data. This is part of our ongoing commitment to be transparent about how we use your data and keep it safe. The new updates will take effect on December 23, 2021, and no further action is required by you.

Notable changes:

  • Additional information about the personal data we collect, the purposes for which we use that data, and how we share and process personal data within the eBay Inc. corporate family and with other businesses and service providers.
  • Additional information in relation to international data transfers and the measures we take to safeguard those transfers.
  • A section referring to additional regional and State Privacy disclosures. This includes additional disclosures for residents of certain U.S. states, including California, and disclosures for specific regions or countries, including Brazil and mainland of People’s Republic of China.

It’s important to us that we keep your data safe and increase transparency about how we use it. You can learn more about eBay’s Privacy Principles and User Privacy Notice at our Privacy Center.

As always, thank you for being part of eBay.
Your eBay Global Privacy Team

eBay didn’t redline the document to show exactly what changed, but a few things jumped out at us when broadly comparing the two versions.

One was an oddity. In section 4.3, eBay changed an example of the kind of usage- and device-related information it collects through cookies, web beacons, and similar technology:

Current example: “The user segment or category into which you as a user fall, for example: male, 20-49 years old, interested in cars.”

New example: “The user segment or category into which you as a user fall, for example: female, 20-49 years old, interested in sneakers.”

eBay deleted the following paragraph from Section 4.5:

“If you give us access to video content pages, your grant of access is your consent that we may, for at least two years, or until you withdraw your consent or are no longer connected to the social network, share with and collect from social networks information regarding your viewing of videos.”

It may be concerning to some users that the current version of the privacy notification allowed eBay to collect their video-watching behavior from third parties – but as of December 23, that section is gone.

eBay details in Section 5.1 when it transmits users’ personal data to outside firms. eBay added a reference to “authentication partners” (eBay offers authentication services in a few categories such as sneakers) and “physical storage service partners” (eBay offers fulfillment services in some geographies with the help of third-party companies).

In addition to processing customers’ personal data to partners, Section 5.4 explains the circumstances under which it may do so for other legitimate purposes, including investigations and proceedings (law enforcement, civil law disputes, public authorities, etc.), including fraud-related – and eBay made a few tweaks to that section.

Another change to make sure it disclosed all situations in which it collects and processes personal data was made to add “surveys” to the list of circumstances where it may be collecting personal data:

“You may provide us with additional information through a web form or by updating or adding information to your eBay account, by participating in community discussions, member chats, surveys, inquiries, dispute resolution, customer service calls recorded with your consent, or if you contact us for any other reason regarding our Services.”

In Section 5.4, eBay added references to “financing offers” and “lending,” areas that more marketplaces, payment processors, and third-party companies are exploiting:

“Offering of partner and bonus programs and other co-branded marketing efforts, e.g. seller financing offers or co-branded credit cards in collaboration with a third party lender or credit card issuer.”

In Section 5.4 in the section about VERO, eBay explained what information it would give participants (and other third-parties) in the event of an investigation. It added “personal data including” to the beginning of the list of data it would provide – it’s not clear if there is other information it might be willing to hand over to investigators, but it covered its bases. The paragraph now reads:

“Participants in the eBay VeRO program, PROACT program, and other third parties in the event of an investigation for fraud, intellectual property infringement, retail crime, stolen goods, product piracy or other unlawful activity, if we, in our sole discretion, deem the investigation of such incident necessary or useful. In such cases, we will disclose personal data including the seller’s name, address, city, zip code, country, telephone number, email address and company name to the third party and bind the third party by a worldwide non-disclosure agreement to treat the data as confidential.”

eBay made other tweaks as well. It was an interesting exercise to review the document. If you ever want to know what kind of data eBay collects about you, take a look, and let us know what you think.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.