We respect your privacy … really?

Posted By on June 1, 2005

I’ve experienced my share of idenity theft and ‘thought’ I was savy to what information I was going to share again. Unfortunately when doing practically anything online, there is very little privacy.
privacy graphic

Most people believe that the first step is to only do business with established and reputable companies, but are surprised at what is shared by online retailers. For example, LLBean privacy policy reads like this:

“We contract with other companies to provide certain services, including credit card processing, shipping, email distribution, market research and promotions management. We provide these companies with only the information they need to perform their services and work closely with them to ensure that your privacy is respected and protected. — From time to time, we make our mailing list (names and addresses only) and general shopping activity available to carefully screened companies whose products we believe will be of interest to you and whose privacy practices meet the Direct Marketing Association’s privacy standards.”

Of course they are not alone in sharing information they collect from you. JCrew’s privacy policy protects you like this:

“J.Crew shares information about our customers with some of our affiliated companies and reputable third parties in order to help us provide better service to you. These third parties may be given access to some or all of the information you provide to us and may use cookies on our behalf.”

Travel sites are not exempt either; Orbitz for example protects your privacy so securely (tongue in cheek) that they openly state that they may:

“disclose your information to our affiliates and non-affiliated business partners for their use both on our behalf and for their own business purposes. For example, our affiliates and business partners may use such information to send you information about their products, services, other information, and materials that may be of interest to you.”

So next time you give up a ‘cookie‘ or share your personal information online … remember that just because a company has a “privacy policy,” that doesn’t mean that they are protecting your personal information. (and don’t even get me started on banks!)


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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