Groupon responds to Congressional inquiry on data security

Groupon responds to Congressional inquiry on data security

In a letter to Congressmen Joe Barton and Ed Markey of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Groupon general counsel David Schellhase detailed improvements the company recently made to its privacy policy.

According to Schellhase, Groupon doesn't collect user information about visitors to its sites that don't sign up for accounts, and it places strict limits on what partner organizations, like payment processors and local businesses, can do with the user data collected from paying customers. For example, no details are shared with businesses participating in a Groupon promotion except for the number of vouchers purchased.

Location data is not collected by the Groupon mobile app when not in use, Schellhase added, though he pointed out that many customers desire some features that would require such functionality. The company will require a clear opt-in from those consumers, allowing them to protect as much of their information as they desire.

A statement from Representative Markey indicated that lawmakers' concerns were at least partially assuaged by Groupon's response. "It's appropriate that Groupon currently uses an opt-in feature for location-based services. This enables consumers to decide whether to grant permission for Groupon to pinpoint where a consumer is at any given moment so it can make offers tailored to that location," he stated.