Additionally, the vast majority of privacy policies are not readily transparent regarding third-party usage of data or consumer choices.
In the 2011 Website Edition of its Privacy Index, TRUSTe analyzed the privacy policies of the top 100 U.S. websites (as ranked by Alexa Sept. 2011) to evaluate privacy practices by measuring key policy attributes, as well as the type of disclosures contained in them.
“Clearly, more work needs to be done to deliver shorter, more accessible privacy policies that can be quickly and easily understood by consumers, so that they have the ability to make choices regarding the sharing of their personal information,” said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe.
TRUSTe Privacy Index – Key Findings from the 2011 Website Edition
Written in this complicated and lengthy form, most online privacy policies are not easily interpreted by the majority of consumers, limiting their understanding of how personal data will be used and the choices that are available to them.
In addition, because disclosures are not clear and readily transparent, most consumers do not fully understand that when they visit one site, another company can be tracking their behavior, and yet another company might be receiving a copy of the data they entered.
The privacy index findings include current online trends, such as:
- 72 percent of the websites analyzed say that they allow third-party tracking on their sites;
- 36 percent say that they collect users’ location data; and
- 31 percent say that they share user-provided data with third parties.
However, in regards to consumer disclosures, many websites still fall short:
- 93 percent of the websites do not disclose how long they keep customer data on file; and
- 68 percent do not explain how a user can delete an account.
For more information, and to access the complete TRUSTe Privacy Index 2011 Website Edition, go to www.truste.com/privacy-index-2011-websites/.