Amazon downplays EPIC’s decision Inc. Wednesday appeared unconcerned following the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s decision announced earlier in the day to end its relationship with the online retailer over Amazon’s new privacy policy.

“EPIC is one of almost 500,000 Amazon associates,” Bill Curry, an Amazon spokesman, said. “We respect their decision.” An Amazon associate is a company that puts links on their Web site to Amazon’s site and receives a referral fee every time they drive business to the online retailer, Curry explained.

Curry made the same comments about privacy advocate Junkbusters Corp., which also announced Wednesday the ending of its associate relationship with Amazon, again over the company’s new privacy policy.

Amazon maintains that the new policy, unveiled at the beginning of this month, serves to tighten up the terms of its previous, more open policy.

“The old policy had a provision that said we don’t sell, rent, lease or share information with third parties, (but that Amazon) may choose to do so in the future,” Curry said. “That’s a pretty broad statement with a lot of flexibility.”

Curry said that the talk circulating in the market that Amazon in the past had issued “some guarantee of never selling (customer data) wasn’t the case.”

With the new privacy policy, Amazon has “drastically constrained and reduced the flexibility” implied in the old policy, Curry said, reiterating that the company is not in the business of selling customer information to third parties.

EPIC announced earlier Wednesday that it was immediately ending its relationship with Amazon and seeking a new way to distribute its books and other materials.

EPIC, based in Washington, D.C., can be reached at, in Seattle, can be reached at Junkbusters, in Green Brook, N.J., can be reached via the Internet at