Bell, A&W web privacy policies branded “bad” and “ugly” by commissioner report

by Andrew Roach on August 13, 2013

Having our personal information protected online is something that is getting much greater attention as we rely on the internet more and more in our daily lives.

While some companies detail all of their privacy plans and information, a new report by the Privacy Commissioner has found that around 20% firms had insufficient or unsatisfactory policies listed on their websites.

This included several big names such as sites owned by Bell Media or A&W Canada who were branded as “bad” and “ugly” respectively by the survey.

The new report examined the privacy policies of 300 companies across Canada and then categorized into groups stating whether the site was “good”, “bad” or “ugly”.

It was not good reading for Bell Media, one of the biggest firms tested in the survey, who were labelled as “bad” for failing to provide an e-mail for customers to contact a site should they have a query about their privacy policy.

This covered several of the group’s sites including TSN.ca and theloop.ca which are some of the most visited web pages in Canada.

Several other big names were also unable to escape being named and shamed such as fast food brand A&W Canada who were branded “ugly” when they only stated that they would comply with the law despite collecting names and photos of its members.

The report wasn’t all doom and gloom though with other brands such as Tim Hortons, Allstate and Tripadvisor all labelled as “good” by the Privacy Commissioner.

These sites were found to have clear policies that were deemed to be informative and fully clear with what the user’s data will be used for and how it will be protected.

This report was just part of a larger global initiative known as the Internet Privacy Sweep which begun in May which saw 18 other nations complete the same review and compile results to get an idea of how seriously the world takes online privacy.

Even though most web pages had adequate privacy statements, most apps were found to have little or no statements with 54% of programmes tested having no policy for users to read.

With these reports openly naming and shaming companies that have fallen below the standards expected of them, it seems that the federal governments are going to make sure that online privacy is an aspect that is taken seriously by everyone on the web.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube

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