Online retailer Amazon.com Inc said on Wednesday it would stop controversial targeted advertising company Phorm from using its Web pages to gather data on Internet users.
British-based Phorm, which scans an individual's browsing history and uses the data to deliver bespoke advertising on member websites, has faced intense scrutiny from privacy-rights groups.
The service, which has been tested by BT Group, triggered the European Commission to take legal action against Britain over data privacy on Tuesday.
Amazon.com spokesman Craig Berman declined to give the reason behind the move, which he described as an opt-out rather than a block.
All we're saying is we've chosen to opt out, he said. I don't know if they've even implemented anything yet.
Phorm said in a statement: There is a process in place to allow publishers to contact Phorm and opt out of the system, but we do not comment on individual cases.
The Open Rights Group, which has urged major Internet companies to opt out of Phorm, said it was very pleased with Amazon's move.
By choosing to block the contentious online advertising system from scanning its Web pages, these firms have taken the positive choice to protect their users' privacy and their own brands, it said in a statement.
We expect more sites to block Webwise in the near future and ISPs to drop plans to snoop on Web users.
Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock said Phorm was using ISPs (Internet service providers) to gain complete access to customers' browsing histories.
Even Google is not intercepting that amount of information, he said.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle, with additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)