Concerns have been raised in Australia about an investigation which will look at the activities of 15,000 eBay traders in the country.
According to a report by ABC News, the probe has been launched by Centrelink, the body in charge of social security payments in Australia. Officials have asked eBay to hand over the details of 15,000 power sellers who made more than $20,000 through the retail and auction website last year, in a bid to uncover instances of fraud.
Hank Jongen, head of Centrelink, said the aim was to find people who are receiving benefits while at the same time hiding profits made by trading over the internet.
He said: "eBay has provided us with the identity details of 15,000 power sellers. This is to enable us to evaluate the extent to which people may have deliberately set out not to advise Centrelink of income."
But the move has been criticised by some privacy campaigners who believe the wholesale release of private details can't be justified.
Chris Connoly, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, said: "When Centrelink and the Tax Office have data sharing agreements, they're subject to enormous oversight by parliament, by the privacy commissioner. And there's none of that sort of control for sharing between eBay and Centrelink."
Written by Les Yates