Feeds

eBay accused of privacy breach

ICO to investigate

Top three mobile application threats

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.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.