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Effective December 31, 2012, articles are no longer being updated on this web site.
The site is now maintained as an historical archive, covering articles from the period 1999 to 2012.


INTERNET PRIVACY ERODING, STUDY SAYS

Source: Washington Post

December 17, 1999

      The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) warns that Americans are risking their privacy when they do their Christmas shopping on the Web. EPIC's latest Web sweep, "Surfer Beware III," examined the privacy policies of the top 100 shopping sites to determine whether companies have adopted fair information practices.

      Criteria included the ability of Internet users to locate a Web site's privacy policy, whether personal information is collected and used with the consent of the consumer, whether the consumer is able to access and correct personal information held by the company, whether the use of information is limited to the purposes for which it was collected, and whether the purposes for which personal information will be used are specified. According to EPIC, not one of the Web sites surveyed adequately addressed all of these elements.

      The survey also found that:

  • 18 of the top 100 shopping sites have not posted privacy policies,

  • 35 use profile-based advertisers on their Web pages; and

  • 86 employ cookies.

      "On balance, we think that consumers are more at risk today than they were in 1997, when we first examined privacy practices on the Web," said Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of EPIC. "The profiling is more extensive and the marketing techniques are more intrusive. Anonymity, which remains crucial to privacy on the Internet, is being squeezed out by the rise of electronic commerce."

      EPIC's Surfer Beware III report may be found at: Surfer Beware III Report




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