Online mega-retailer Amazon reportedly has launched an investigation into employees who may have accepted bribes from independent merchants in exchange for sharing private corporate data.
Citing sellers and brokers with knowledge of the practice, as well as people familiar with Amazon’s investigations, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that data being shared in violation of company policy includes internal sales metrics and reviewers’ email addresses.
Reportedly, the scheme is especially prevalent in China, where brokers and sellers typically use third-party intermediaries to exchange the forbidden data for payments ranging from roughly $80 to more than $2,000. However, employees in the U.S. are also under investigation, the WSJ notes.
In addition to providing internal data, Amazon employees are also offering a service to delete negative reviews and reinstate banned Amazon accounts, the report continues.
Inside corporations, “Most threats are internal and they can cause the most significant damage,” said Niles Rowland, director of product development for The Media Trust, in emailed comments addressing the report. “And when you transplant operations to geographies where legal infrastructures are weaker, these threats can escalate. The growing number of consumer data protection laws like GDPR that are sweeping across the world will require companies to be more vigilant about how they and their third parties collect, process, share, and store personally identifiable information.”