eBay Claims it Won't Share Customer Info With NSA, Acquires Braintree for $800 Million

Rest assured, eBayers: The National Security Administration (NSA) isn't going to know about your Beanie Baby-buying habit, even if eBay is set to add another way to collect customer data. The e-commerce giant announced Thursday that it will be purchasing payment firm Braintree in a $800 million acquisition, but reaffirmed that it will not share customer data with the NSA. Braintree will be most visible in eBay's its Venmo app, which supports PayPal transactions between mobile devices.

The acquisition comes amid widespread concerns that the auction site is sharing customer data with the NSA.

"We don't share our customer data," Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, said at a press conference today in Berlin. "We don't sell our customer data. We are incredibly protective of our customers' data."

Wenig's insistence that his company won't share customer data with anyone comes in response to German privacy commissioner Peter Schaar's comments last month that he "was certain information collected on eBay users ended up with the NSA."

Schaar's worries were, in turn, a reaction to documents Edward Snowden made public this summer revealing the extent to which global companies collected and shared customer data with the NSA. Snowden had suggested in the past that "major web companies have set up systems to help the intelligence agency monitor online communications to protect against terrorism," though none of the leaked documents named eBay among the companies who had turned information over to the NSA.

When it comes to information, eBay's certainly got a lot on its customers. The site's updated privacy policy, effective for all users Oct. 26, states that they "collect and store any information you enter on our sites or you provide to us in context of using our sites." This includes information such as the computer's physical location (automatically collected), card details, and cell phone numbers — again, anything entered on the site.

Ebay's privacy policy also says that the only time they will disclose information to a governmental agency is "in response to a verified request relating to a criminal investigation or alleged illegal activity or any other activity that may expose us, you, or any other eBay user to legal liability." In that case, they say, they'll only disclose what's relevant to the investigation.

Venmo has a similar privacy policy, though it is a little more expansive: Logging in via Facebook allows the app to collect social media and contact information on the user, in addition to the financial details submitted through the use of its app.

It also says that they share the information with "their parent company, Braintree, Inc." With the acquisition of Braintree by eBay, it's unclear whether Venmo user data will now be collected by eBay (Venmo did not return Bustle's requests for comment).

However, data should still be safe, at least according to eBay exec Wenig. "We don't believe the NSA has come near our data," said Wenig. "We have a tremendous amount of thought and procedures and security around customer data."

Back to trolling for Beanie Babies.