Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Web sites gathering less personal data, survey says

By John Yaukey
Gannett News Service

Take heart privacy advocates.

It appears Web sites are collecting less personal information from consumers. What's more, they're doing a better job of explaining how they go about their data gathering, according to the results of a December think tank survey released this month.

The Progress and Freedom Foundation reported that its survey of almost 400 mostly randomly chosen Web sites found that four of five collected detailed information on visitors.

That's down "a little" from the results of a similar survey in 2000.

While the shift may be small, the direction it's moving in is important.

The conclusion is that online companies are responding to consumer concerns and that they may also apparently have overestimated the value of the information they were collecting to the chagrin of many a Netizen.

The survey also found that about 75 percent of the Web sites that collect personal information now publish privacy policies explaining how the information is gathered and what it is used for.

That's up from 64 percent in 2000.

That said, privacy advocates have questioned the efficacy of these privacy statements as other studies have found that few Web surfers read them.

The Progress and Freedom Foundation opposes government interference in the Internet. Its financial backers include many of the nation's largest technology and media companies: AOL, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.