TRUSTe Study Reveals Extensive Tracking and Inadequate Privacy Protections on Top UK Websites
Companies Have Lots of Work Ahead to Address May 25th EU e-Privacy Directive Deadline
London, UK – 18 April, 2012 - Today, TRUSTe released the first UK Website Edition of its Privacy Index Series monitoring changes and trends in online privacy. This study reviewed tracking activities and privacy disclosures on top UK websites, revealing widespread tracking activity and the need for greater transparency around personal data use, especially on mobile devices.
With the UK compliance deadline for the EU e-Privacy Directive (aka the ‘Cookie Directive') fast approaching, many companies are reconsidering their approach to online privacy. TRUSTe's research found that top UK websites have, on average, 14 trackers (e.g., cookies) per page, of which 68 percent are from third-parties.
TRUSTe Privacy Index: 2012 UK Website Edition – Key Findings
TRUSTe created this Privacy Index by conducting an in-depth analysis of the privacy policies and tracking activities on the top 50 UK websites, as ranked by web analytics firm Alexa Internet, Inc. in March 2012. Key findings from the analysis include:
Given their length, most online privacy policies are not easily accessible to consumers, limiting their ability to understand how their personal data will be collected and used. This UK Website Privacy Index reveals the ubiquity of online tracking (both first and third party tracking) on these sites and highlights the need for more accessible and easily understood privacy notices to supplement traditional website privacy policies. Because disclosures are not readily transparent, most consumers do not fully understand that when they visit a website one company can track their behaviour and yet another company may receive a copy of that data.
TRUSTe's 2012 UK Website Privacy Index serves as a follow on to the March release of a British consumer confidence privacy survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe that uncovered widespread privacy concern among online British adults. The survey found that 90 percent of British adults worry about their online privacy; 37 percent do not trust most companies with their personal information online; and 88 percent avoid companies that they believe do not protect their privacy.
"Clearly more work needs to be done to deliver shorter, more accessible privacy notices that can be easily understood by consumers so that they can make informed choices around their personal information," said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe.
"Companies with an online presence in the EU are readying their compliance strategies for the Cookie Directive and our Privacy Index shows that one of their first steps should be measuring and understanding the true scope of trackers on their sites. TRUSTe stands ready to support companies in all aspects of their privacy management strategy."
TRUSTe is the leading global privacy management solutions provider and offers a broad suite of solutions that enable multinational companies to safely and efficiently handle the customer data powering their online businesses - including advertising, cloud services, mobile applications, and websites. Over 5,000 web properties from top companies like Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, HP, and Microsoft rely on TRUSTe to ensure compliance with evolving and complex international privacy requirements. TRUSTe's mission, based on a "Truth in Privacy" framework, is built on a solid foundation of transparency, choice and accountability regarding the collection and use of personal information. TRUSTe's privacy seal is recognized and trusted by millions of consumers worldwide as a sign of responsible privacy practices. For additional information on TRUSTe and its offerings, please visit http://www.truste.com.
Notes to Editors