Feeds

Web privacy bandits named and shamed

Spam merchants and credit card data dogs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Internet sites are failing to either protect consumers privacy or adhere to international data protection laws.

A study of 751 sites by Consumers International, the global federation of 13 consumer organisations, reveals that many European and American Internet sites aimed at consumers fall woefully short of international standards on data protection.

The vast majority of sites gave users no choice about inclusion on mailing lists or having their name passed on to affiliates or third parties. More than two thirds of sites collect some sort of personal information from users, which would make it easy to identify and contact that person.

Worse still, only ten per cent of sites targeting children asked kids to get their parents' consent before giving personal information.

Despite tight European Union regulation, sites in Europe were found to be no better at being up-front about how users' data would be used than those in the US.

Many companies were found to flout EU legislation requiring them to give customers the option of insisting that their personal information is not divulged.

As part of the study, a team of researchers set up a set of online identities which were used to test the practice of some sites against their stated privacy policies. This part of the research only tested 17 US sites and 16 sites in Europe but it still threw up some interesting anecdotal evidence.

Three sites disregarded requests to be left off mailing lists. These were French book site lalibrairie.com, healthshop.com and UK wine retailer Berry Bros & Rudd, bbr.com. Among the sites that didn't give people any choice about receiving email were babyworld.co.uk, and US bookseller, harvard.com.

Another issue thrown up was over the security of credit card information sent online. In one case, US CD retailer cdworld.com sent out two emails requesting credit card confirmation be faxed to the company. This was not done but the order was processed anyway. UU T-shirt retailer 3tee.com sent an unencrypted email containing credit card information.

Consumers International is calling for government and regulators to take urgent action to adopt laws, rules and procedures to tighten up on privacy and establish a body that consumers can turn to for redress.

The organisation has provided a helpful five-point plan for people to protect themselves from misuse of private information in ecommerce. This includes: limiting disclosure of your personal information, using a separate email account for ecommerce activities, rejecting cookies planted on PCs by intrusive businesses, using privacy tools which allow users to surf anonymously and learning and applying your legal rights. ®

External links

Consumer International's report

Related stories

FTC clears DoubleClick of privacy invasion
Travelocity drops customers' pants in public
Europe warms to spam ban

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?