Privacy Almost Does Not Exist with Website Privacy Policies
We like our privacy. Privacy helps our society. Websites sport privacy policies that promise privacy. But they’re usually badly misunderstood and totally ineffectual. Not just weak; but without any efficacy at all.
The biggest problem may be the exception they provide for law, which most people think is only about police and court orders and such like. Not so.
If the website owner with your information agrees to a contract to sell your information, the owner must comply with the contract and sell your information. That’s too bad about your email address and what you’ve been looking at, but if the contract says they’re selling it then sold it will be. You can’t do much about it.
You might have given very little of your information to anyone. But a little here and a little there can be put together to make a dossier. One report said that with a Zip code and your name a store can assemble your complete address. With that, maybe your email address and shopping habits can be sold, too.
A website owner could make a contract with you for your privacy, but I haven’t heard of that being done. You’d probably have to pay money for that. How much is it worth to you?
While some privacy advocates have been trying to prevent owners from misusing your information, they’re probably going about it in a way that owners can ignore. It won’t work.
What’s needed in law is an amendment to contract law, the law governing what contracts may do. That requires 50 state laws and one Federal law. That’s 51 statutes, 51 bills to be introduced. Enacting them will need a large popular movement. I don’t know who’s going to organize that. Probably no one.
Meanwhile, if you’re not within an exception, either don’t give your information to a website or live with it being known to other people.