Feeds

eBay accused of privacy breach

ICO to investigate

High performance access to file storage

Updated The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is to investigate eBay after Privacy International lodged an official complaint about the company's data retention practices.

Privacy International (PI) alleges that the auction site is deliberately making it difficult for people to delete their accounts, with the aim of bolstering customer numbers.

Under the 1998 Data Protection Act (DPA), firms are obliged to allow people to delete their registration information.

PI head Simon Davies explained: "There are two categories of offenders in cases like this. eBay is a category two offender, which means that it does provide an opt out option, but it is not easy to find. Category one offenders... have no delete account function at all."

Davies said PI had chosen to target a lesser offender in the hopes of getting a clear ruling from the ICO on what best practice should be.

"We could probably win if we challenged a category one offender," he told us, "but what we want is a set of clear, enforceable guidelines requiring companies to prominently display an account delete function".

The ICO has confirmed it is looking into the complaint, and said it will be contacting eBay about the allegations.

eBay, meanwhile, says users can delete their registration information, and that it only shares user data with law enforcement agencies.

Davies says although it is easy for eBay to say this, the level of difficulty involved in deleting account information means the auction site "effectively prevents all but the most diligent and persevering customers from deleting their personal information from the site".

eBay could face a hefty fine, or prosecution, if the ICO finds the company guilty of breaking the DPA rules. ®

Clarification

In an earlier version of this story we quoted PI's Simon Davies describing Friends Reunited as one site which did not have an account delete function.

Friends Reunited has been in touch with us to point out that the site does, indeed, have an account delete function. Users wishing to delete their accounts have to go to the Help/FAQ page, then hit the Toubleshooting link and then, three links later, will be presented with the chance to wipe their details from the site.

We are happy to make this clear.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.