Amazon’s Data Request Results Page Is Needlessly Difficult

Over a week ago, I requested a copy of my personal data from Amazon, after a few journalists reported some surprising finds in theirs. I am a very light user of Amazon’s services, so I did not expect anything remarkable, but I was curious.

Well, I just got a copy of it this evening, and the most surprising thing was how it was delivered. When you request a copy of your data from another company, it typically takes a few hours or perhaps a few days to become available. Apple says “up to seven days”;1 Google says “possibly hours or days”; Twitter says “24 hours or longer”.

Amazon does not promise to turn around its files nearly as quickly. It says that it can take up to thirty days to create the exported data. When it does become available, you are presented with a list of individual downloads labelled and categorized by function — in mine, there were 57.

And there is no “download all” button.

Oh, and all of the download buttons are not actually direct links to each file, but instead link to an HTML page that fetches the correct download, which means you cannot save the files to a specific folder on your computer.

Remember, I am a light Amazon user, so mine mostly consisted of retail-related files, like my search history, order history, and payment data on file including the last four digits of credit cards. I was a little surprised to see a copy of every order status email Amazon has ever sent me, along with a database of the read status of each one.

Otherwise, there is very little to report, and I probably would not have written anything if the download process were not hysterically cumbersome. I just do not understand why all of this was not delivered as a single zip file. It is like I am being punished for having the audacity to request my data.

  1. I did not request a copy of my iCloud Photos, iCloud Drive, or iCloud email inbox. The promise may be different if I asked for all of that. ↥︎