This post has been updated since it was originally published.
“According to the article, Groupon will dramatically expand the categories of personal information it collects and shares with its partners,” Markey and Barton wrote in their July 21 letter. “As co-chairmen of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, we would like to gain greater insight into Groupon’s privacy policies.”
Groupon also said that while it does not currently collect location data when consumers aren’t logged into the site, customers have been asking for this functionality for “push” alerts, and the company is planning to add that feature to its service in the future.
The company also said that it knows that privacy is not a one-size-fits-all issue. “We understand that our customers want relevant and timely offers delivered in a privacy-sensitive manner at an exceptional value,” the company wrote. “We also understand that our customers can easily vote with their feet if they feel that we are not striking the right balance in all four areas — relevance, timeliness, respect for privacy and value.”
“In an effort to make this a reality, [Groupon] should never let convenience compromise the integrity of the company,” Barton said in statement responding to the company’s letter. “Because it is growing at such a fast pace, I fear for the potential misuse of consumers’ personal information as more partnerships are created.”
Markey expressed similar concerns, saying that he approves of Groupon’s decision to use an “opt-in” feature for its location-based services.
“Transparent, easily understandable privacy policies and practices are key here, and I will continue to monitor this rapidly developing area of the industry,” Markey said in a statement.