Thursday, October 30, 2008

Most don't know personal data can be sold


Many Californians don't understand how concerns are using and merchandising their personal information, according to a study released today by the Samuelson Law, Technology and Populace Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley.

The study establish that people be given to presume their information is protected from being sold when it's not.

"Businesses are allowed to sell information unless consumers object," said Chris Hoofnagle, the clinic's associate manager and a co-author of the report. "There's a (significant) spread between people's apprehension of the regulations and existent marketplace practices."

With aid from the university's Survey Research Center, the clinic asked approximately 1,000 people about nine common minutes - ordering a pizza, for instance, or donating to charity - and what they thought happened to their personal information as a result. Responses were weighted to reflect a representative sample of Californians.

In lone two classes - subscribing to newspapers or mags and entering a sweepstakes - did more than than 50 percentage of respondents understand that when they make these things, they're handing over their information to be sold.

Otherwise, many got it wrong. A bulk of people didn't recognize that when they order a pizza, donate to charities, registry a merchandise for a warranty, cod a merchandise rebate, give their telephone Numbers to hive away clerks or order something from a catalog, they're allowing their information to be sold and shared among companies.

Pizza bringing information also is used by private research workers and authorities to track people, the study points out.

A bulk of people also don't cognize that grocery store supplies in Golden State are prohibited from merchandising personal information they accumulate from loyalty baseball club cards.

People who store online did better on the study than those who don't. Whether online shoppers are more than than accustomed to reading privateness policies or are just more suspicious, Hoofnagle said he didn't know.

The study also divided people into three groupings depending on how much they care about privateness - the unconcerned, pragmatists (people who like voluntary privateness standards) and fundamentalists (people who desire strong privateness laws). This strategy was developed by Alan Westin, a professor at Columbia River University law school.

Fundamentalists - 21 percentage of the respondents - did better on the study than the other two groups. Again, they could be either more than than enlightened about privateness or more suspicious.

One solution to the privateness job is to necessitate that people choose in, or give expressed permission for organisations to sell or share their information. But concerns have got a difficult clip getting people to make that, Hoofnagle said.

Another thought is to make a national privateness roll modeled on the Federal Soldier Trade Commission's Bash Not Name list, where people submit telephone Numbers that concerns and organisations can't call. No such as statute law is in the works, however.

The law clinic anticipates to publish a similar study on online privateness in the adjacent few weeks. Carnival game

Companies can sell or share your personal information unless they curtail themselves with a privateness policy or are regulated by law. Information can be gathered from:

Pizza bringing companies

Charitable donations

Product guarantee registrations

Product rebates

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions

Sweepstakes entries

Catalog orders

Phone Numbers that you give to cashiers

What can't be sold: Personal information from grocery store baseball club cards

Source: Samuelson Law, Technology and Populace Policy Clinic, UC Berkeley.

E-mail Deborah Gauge at .

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