Paypal’s largest acquisition, browser extension Honey, was acquired by the online payment processor in December for $4 billion. Honey offers coupons to users and suggests other ways to save on purchases. But, the startup is creating security concerns, and Amazon is speaking out. The e-commerce giant is urging its customers to remove the extension, fearing it leaves users vulnerable to security infringements. It’s worth noting that Amazon does have a competing plug-in.
The online retailer warned customers during the holiday shopping season that using the browser extension was risky, noting that Honey tracks private user shopping behavior while collecting data, such as order histories and items shoppers save. The extension is also able to read and change personal online data created when visiting websites.
Amazon is now claiming that the browser extension is malware. The following is the message posted by Amazon to visitors on its website:
Paypal is a Los Angeles-based startup. The Honey plug-in explores possible discounts for users, and in return, Honey earns a commission on each sale. The plug-in is believed to have brought in 17 million users to Amazon over the seven years it’s been used on the online retailer’s site. However, it is only since Paypal’s acquiring of Honey that the e-commerce giant has been critical. It is possible that with the big-name data breaches by Facebook and T-Mobile that Amazon is trying to separate itself from potential future scandals.
Per an Amazon spokesperson: “Our goal is to warn customers about browser extensions that collect personal shopping data without their knowledge or consent such as customer name, shipping, and/or billing address and payment method from the checkout page.”
A Honey spokesperson has countered the statement and says the plug-in is not and never has been a security risk. The company says the extension is “safe to use. We only use data in ways that directly benefits Honey members – helping people save money and time – and in ways they would expect. Our commitment is clearly spelled out in our privacy and security policy.”
Honey does acknowledge collecting “limited shopping data.” It says it uses the information to analyze data on retail sites so its users can locate the best coupons. The company draws the line, however, in saying that it doesn’t sell personal information.