Groupon changes privacy policy

Groupon’s new policy is to collect and share more subscriber personal info with their partners.

The Chicago-based deal site announced the changes in an email to its 83 million subscribers Sunday, saying that the new policies are part of an effort to provide greater transparency about the way it handles private information about users. The announcements come as the company seeks to go public and on the heels of its launch of Groupon Now, a mobile service that provides instant deals based on a user’s location.

“In short, if you use a Groupon mobile app and you allow sharing through your device, Groupon may collect geo-location information from the device and use it for marketing deals to you,” the company said.

The company broadened its definition of “personal information” to include “interests and habits” and said a partnership that provides travel deals with Expedia means that personal information can be shared with the travel site if users subscribe to receive travel deals.

Groupon said other information it collects and shares with Expedia and for use on Groupon now could include relationship information, transaction information, financial account information and mobile location information.

Consumers can manage their email preferences and subscriptions through their account setting, how cookies are handled through their browsers and can opt out of being targeted by certain third-party advertising companies by clicking links provided in the Groupon’s privacy policy.

Users who wish to opt out of receiving offers from Groupon’s business partners can follow opt-out instructions that come in emails those companies send out. Users can also stop their mobile devices from sharing location information with Groupon by adjusting the privacy settings on their phones.

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