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Data protection authorities monitor privacy policies on websites

10 May 2013

This week saw the Global Privacy Enforcement Network co-ordinate the ‘Internet Privacy Sweep’. The sweep involved participating data protection authorities worldwide (including the ICO in the UK) examining the transparency of companies’ websites and apps, and identifying those which may need further investigation or follow up. The participating authorities determined which sites to examine. Canada, for example, planned to visit the few hundred sites most visited by Canadians.

The key questions are:

  • does the site have a privacy policy?
  • how difficult is it to find information about the site’s privacy practices?
  • is contact information for addressing privacy questions and concerns readily available?
  • how readable is the information about privacy practices?

The sweep shows a co-ordinated compliance review by data protection authorities. Breach of data protection laws can be expensive and the sweep should incentivise companies to review their policies to ensure they are compliant with the law.

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