Shoppers Should Read Online Privacy Policies

    December 7, 2007

The New York Public Interest Research Group has released a report on online shopping privacy policies detailing how online retailers protect customer’s identity.

The group reviewed the privacy policies of 484 online retailers in October and November, examining how well customers were informed about how their information would be used, and how much control they would have over who has access to their personal data.

Sites that did well received "screen door" and "steel door" ratings. and received screen door ratings., and received steel door rankings.

Shoppers Should Read Online Privacy Policies was criticized because its privacy policy is "very technical and lengthy" and may be hard for people to understand, said Tracy Shelton, consumer attorney with NYPIRG. was flagged because its policy say personal information can be transferred if the company is sold. In a statement the company said Home Depot "clearly discloses its policies prominently on concerning the potential to transfer non-private customer information in the unlikely event of the sale of the company. This is standard language throughout the industry. We take data security very seriously and have many proactive measures to ensure the protection of customer information."

Shelton advised shoppers to research the privacy polices of the site where they make purchases. "Their personally identifiable information is a big important asset that people have and it should be protected," she said.