“Awards” Given For E-Commerce Site Privacy Policies…The Best And The Worst

I ran across some interesting e-commerce site “awards” recently published by CyberStreetSmart.org. They identified the recipients of their “screen door” (the award retailers DON’T want) and “steel door” (retailers want this) awards based upon the privacy protections the sites had in place for customer personally identifiable information (PII).

From October to November 2007 the privacy policies of 484 supposedly popular retail sites were reviewed to determine:
* How well each site/retailer informed customers about the use of their PII.
* How much control site/retailer granted customers over the use of their PII.
The “screen door” awards go to those retailers who do NOT let customers know how they are using or protecting their PII.
The sites that got the screen door (bad privacy) awards included (in no particular order):
* auntiesbeads.com
* petsunited.com.au
* acekaraoke.com
* disneyshopping.com
* neimanmarcus.com
* nationalbusinessfurniture.com
* junonia.com
* restorationhardware.com
* rei.com
* homedepot.com
* petsmart.com
The “steel door” awards go to the retailers who have good privacy policies indicating good customer communications and security safeguards for PII in place.
The sites that got the steel door (good privacy) awards included (in no particular order):
* netflix.com
* quixtar.com
* emerchandise.com
* shutterfly.com
* jockey.com
* ralphlauren.com
* bhphotovideo.com
* rocawear.com
This is an interesting list; I’ve not heard of many of these sites.
Keep in mind these awards for privacy are made solely upon the wording of the posted privacy policies; they did not validate that the policies were actually supported by internal procedures.
Privacy policies are binding contracts with website visitors. If an organization posts a privacy policy making promises it is not actually following through on, it faces legal consequences. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has applied many fines and penalties to businesses that made promises within their websites that they were not keeping…you can find many of them searching here.
Have you reviewed your privacy policy lately?

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