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New tool ranks websites on data privacy

16 Feb 2012 12:52 GMT Back
New tool ranks websites on data privacy
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A new tool allows users to estimate the data privacy risk of using a website based on how it handles their personal tracking data

Privacy Score has so far analysed 1,461 of the most trafficked websites and ranked them on their collection and use of personal data, scoring them out of 100. 

It also shows how many third-party companies may be tracking people via each site. The tool gives points breakdowns for various activities, such as sharing personal data (names, email addresses and phone numbers) deleting data promptly when an account is closed, and notifying users if government agencies request user data. 

Major sites such as Google and Twitter have been graded 85 and 95 respectively, reflecting their concerns for users’ rights and privacy. American retailer JC Penney, on the other hand, got just 50 points, and electronics store Target, 48. The average score across all sites graded so far is 71. 

Jim Brock, founder of Privacy Score, says, “We show this to websites and the first question they ask is, ‘how do I get my score up?’ We tell them, you have to talk to the people who track on your site and tell them, you need to delete data, and be more explicit about what you do with data.”

Brock says his service is provided “to help solve a big problem for web users: how to understand the privacy risks they take every day online”. Transparency of this kind can only be positive, allowing users to see your trustworthiness, and helping you to show it. 

Posted by 

Glyn Brown

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