Internet Privacy Policies – What You Should Know

by CherrellT on November 12, 2011

Internet privacy is a growing concern today. When you are online, information is being gathered at every page click. Information is gathered about your surfing habits, and that information is stored. There are cases where information you provide to a website may be provided to a third party for direct marketing.

You may be searching the Internet looking to purchase a product, and may or may not buy anything. Consequently, your email box is soon full of advertisements—and it is no coincidence. Many people consider it an acceptable trade off to provide an IP or email address for the convenience of online shopping.

The Electronics Communications Privacy Act
According to the ECPA act 18 USC§, disclosing or revealing certain electronic communications to a third party can constitute a federal crime. The law is extremely vague because it does not specify the circumstances, thus leaving it open for interpretation. Several states in the U.S. have passed legislation that prohibits the disclosure of certain private information gathered by websites. Once again, it is not clear what information and under what circumstances.

Without doubt, web sites you visit will gather information about you. Cookies are data bits stored on your computer when you sign on to an Internet website. The cookies allow for faster surfing while visiting that site. Cookies make is so you can automatically sign on to a website, as well. Disabling cookies many times results in you not being able to gain access to certain websites.

Who is protected by Privacy Policies?

The Internet as a whole is free, but everyone has to pay the light bill. Selling data to direct marketers is a lucrative business for many web sites. The cookies in most cases will contain your email address, and any information you provided to the websites. The marketers want your Internet surfing and purchasing habits.

The website’s privacy policy may very well state they will provide certain information to a third party for marketing purposes. Privacy policies are necessary to the web sites because they are not held responsible for what third parties may do with your information. The policies are similar to warning labels on snow blowers stating not to use them on your roof. The website will be emphatic that they cannot be held legally responsible for anyone else’s actions. The web site is not responsible for how your personal information is used after it is sold. The privacy policy will include all disclaimers. The policy is, for the most part, for the protection of the website.

Social Media sites aren’t that Private

Most social media websites allow third party advertisers to advertise or make claims on their websites. Subsequently, the website will state in their privacy policy they are not responsible for any actions by the third party. The most popular social websites currently log and store all posts and deleted account information for up to one year, and they can sell or provide that information.
Essentially any information of a personal nature provided on any Internet web site is subject to disclosure. Assume any information you provide to anyone or any website has the potential to be compromised. People provide too much information on social websites. Individuals out to commit identity theft, or worse can piece together that information and come up with a remarkably accurate profile. They can decipher your passwords by sifting through personal information you have provided to the world at large.

Cautionary Measures

Several precautions can be taken to protect your privacy. When surfing the Internet and signing on to various websites, use emails that are not connected to your Internet provider. Many sites provide email services that do not ask for personal information. Therefore, email addresses that are compromised cannot provide addressees and personal information. It is incumbent upon individuals to be pro-active with their privacy online. For online purchases, use re-loadable debit cards. The account numbers if stolen will not allow access to your personal checking account.

Tina Sanchez is a corporate trainer who also writes for the Aviva Directory, a new age website directory with verified site lists for everything from physicians to marketing guidance. You can search by country or state, such as Oregon or by categories, like online revenue.

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