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Adidas targeted by hackers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Adidas is the latest company to suffer a data breach.

On Friday, the athletics giant began alerting customers that an unauthorized source made its way into its website. The hacker claims to have acquired limited data associated with certain Adidas consumers, according to the company.

Pilfered data includes contact information, usernames and encrypted passwords. No credit card or fitness information was compromised.

The company estimated the breach has impacted “a few million consumers,” an Adidas spokeswoman said in an email to Bloomberg.

Upon learning about the breach, the athletics retailer immediately began taking steps to determine the scope of the issue and to alert relevant consumers. Adidas continues to work with leading data security firms and law enforcement authorities to investigate the issue.

Other retailers targeted by cyber-thieves this year include Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Saks, Saks Off Fifth and Lord & Taylor brands, Best Buy, Panera Bread, Sears Holdings, and Under Armour.

“Retail websites have become a fertile hunting ground for attackers targeting customer data,” Fred Kneip, CEO, CyberGRX.

“Even when organizations do everything they can do safeguard their data, attackers have gotten very good at going through third parties to find a way in,” he added. “The Fort Knox approach of making your organization impenetrable simply doesn’t work today because so many third parties have access to your network. It only takes a single vulnerability within any of those third parties to put sensitive data at risk.”

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NRF: Retail customer service will suffer under new California privacy law

BY Marianne Wilson

California has passed the nation’s toughest data privacy law — and a leading retail association is not happy with it.

The National Retail Federation called the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown into law, “deeply flawed” and said customer service could be severely hampered if the legislature fails to address retailers’ concerns before the measure takes effect in 2020.

“This law is objectionable on many levels,” said David French, NRF senior VP for government relations. “This is a deeply flawed measure aimed more at lining the pockets of attorneys than protecting consumers. It will expose businesses to unwarranted lawsuits while potentially taking away many of the innovations and special services consumers have come to expect.”

The law, which follows the recent rollout of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), gives consumers more control over and insight into the spread of their personal information online, putting into place major regulations on the data-collection practices of U.S. technology companies. Upon request, companies will be required to tell customers what personal data they’ve collected, why it was collected and what categories of third parties have received it. It also makes it easier for consumers to sue companies after a data breach.

Calling data the “the backbone of any good retail business,” French said that “knowing how often your customers shop, what brands and styles they prefer and how much they can afford to spend helps you serve their needs.

“Whether it’s a preview sale on new offerings, letting them know you have their size back in stock or loyalty programs that offer discounts, these are all services that shoppers value,” he added. “Under this law, those services could go away, and California’s consumers will want to know who’s to blame.”

NRF was among 29 state and national business groups that sent a letter to members of the California Assembly and Senate calling the legislation “a serious threat to the California economy.”

“The business community has been and remains interested in and dedicated to crafting reasonable privacy legislation,” the letter said. “We strongly urge the legislature to consider the numerous problems presented by this bill and to fix them as we move forward.”

The California Consumer Privacy Act was passed as an alternative to a ballot initiative that had been certified for November’s elections. The ballot initiative would have become law immediately after Election Day, but the legislation does not take effect until January 1, 2020, giving opponents time to seek changes in the legislature.

Among other provisions, the law would allow private citizens to sue retailers in addition to allowing enforcement by state authorities, a move the letter called a “giveaway to trial lawyers” that “exposes California businesses to massive additional liability without providing any corresponding benefit to consumers, according to the NRF.

The law prohibits retailers from treating customers who opt out of data sharing any differently from those who do not, a provision that could put an end to retail loyalty programs that offer discounts to members. Consumers could also demand that their information be erased, and retailers are concerned by other provisions involving data breach requirements, definitions of personal information, transparency and consumer access to data.

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Amazon dives deeper into package delivery with unusual offer

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon wants to help entrepreneurs run their own local delivery network — one that transports Amazon packages.

The online giant is looking to bolster its existing community of delivery service partners through a new program that will help entrepreneurs build a company focused on delivering Amazon packages. The program will provide individuals with the technology and operational support needed to manage their own delivery business.

With a startup cost of $10,000, owners will gain access to the Amazon’s delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on other resources required to operate a delivery business. These include leases on a fleet of up to 40 Amazon-branded delivery vehicles, comprehensive insurance, branded uniforms, and fuel, among other services.

Amazon estimates that an owner could earn up to $300,000 a year in annual profit by operating a fleet of up to 40 vehicles. Over time, Amazon expects to bring on “hundreds of new, small business owners to hire tens of thousands of delivery drivers across the U.S.,” according to the company.

These entrepreneurial delivery teams will join Amazon’s existing community of traditional carriers, as well as small-and-medium-sized businesses already delivering Amazon packages.

“Customer demand is higher than ever and we have a need to build more capacity,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior VP of worldwide operations. “As we evaluated how to support our growth, we went back to our roots to share the opportunity with small-and-medium-sized businesses. We are going to empower new, small businesses to form in order to take advantage of the growing opportunity in e-commerce package delivery.”

The move further highlights Amazon’s position on using less conventional delivery options.

“Amazon’s news of building out a parcel delivery network shows that not all truck space has to come in the form of traditional, legacy fleets,” said Mike Williams, CEO, uShip. “Underutilized, albeit fragmented capacity is out there — one just needs to know how to tap into it, whether it’s for shipping clothing or couches.”

This program is Amazon’s newest attempt at making its supply chain more efficient. Recently, the online giant established its “Amazon Logistics” operation, a cross-border service currently available to sellers listing on the Amazon platform. The retailer also continues to develop its air freight solutions and services, and plans “to quickly introduce it to a large number of our sellers,” according to the Amazon Logistics website.

In 2017, Amazon announced it would build an air cargo hub in Kentucky, which will be home base for its leased air fleet of 40 Boeing cargo jets — a program it calls Prime Air.

Meanwhile, Amazon dipped its toe into the freight forwarder waters last year, a move that allows Amazon to control shipments between manufacturers and distribution points.

In November 2015, the company purchased thousands of trailers pulled by tractor trucks provided through partnerships with third-party transportation firms. These vehicles shuttle inventory throughout the supply chain.

The company is also in the midst of testing delivery drones.

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