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SURVEY SHOWS MOST UK WEB SITES FAIL TO COMPLY WITH DATA PROTECTION ACT

Source: PXNewsFlash

Posted on April 25, 2002

      The majority of UK Web sites are failing to comply with data protection legislation, putting consumer confidence in e-business at risk, according to a new study by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

      Over 3,000 URLs were visited from more than 900 companies, organizations, and government institutions, and 200 interviews were conducted. The study shows that many companies are in breach of the Data Protection Act, which says that anyone processing personal data must comply with the eight enforceable principles of good practice, including:
- Ensuring security of data;
- Ensuring data is adequate, relevant and not excessive;
- Holding data no longer than is necessary; and
- The fair and lawful processing of data.

      Major findings reveal that 75% of the sites surveyed do not provide any contact information, such as an e-mail or postal address, 42% of sites have no privacy statement posted, and only 27% give information about how to question privacy policy and use of data.

      "Customers should know who they are dealing with and how to get hold of them," said Ian Bourne, strategic policy manager from the Office of the Information Commissioner. "Respect for people's information is not antithetical to good business. It should be part of it. It promotes confidence in e-business and reassures users that they are not dealing with a fly-by-night organization."

      Other findings show that only 40% of sites have procedures for recording what personal data is collected, and at least a quarter of sites have no data retention policy. "Data retention is not understood. Businesses are just storing information unnecessarily," said Bourne. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure Web sites are up to scratch with data privacy issues."




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