Monday, March 21, 2005

Scrutinizing online privacy statements for transparency and disclosure

Rusty Weston and Keith Dawson, in Optimize Magazine (a part of the TechWeb Business Technology Network), scrutnize online privacy statements of a number of companies to look at how transaparent they really are. The article focuses on whether the companies disclose offshore processing of customer information, but the article is a usefull lesson on how to be transparent to gain customer trust.

Optimize Magazine > Global Issues << Shining Light On Privacy Policies >> March 2005:

"If you read a few dozen corporate privacy policies, you may be excused for believing that the same guy who drafts the fine print in rental-car contracts wrote these while moonlighting. There is some truth to that notion: It's easy to find boilerplate privacy forms on the BBB OnLine site. These policies generally are so vague--and cookie-cutter in style--it appears that they exist to give attorneys wiggle room if the disclosure is ever challenged in court.

The premise of our review of privacy statements by companies engaged in outsourcing of various kinds (they don't in all cases offshore customer data to third parties) is to determine how these firms handle the concept of customer disclosure. What policy language is the state of the art? Which statements need a serious policy review?...."

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