Consumer Online Privacy
How many commercial Web sites collect, compile, sell or use personal information? Of these, how many give consumers notice of their practices regarding the collection and subsequent use of personal information? With respect to these Web sites, describe (1) how and when such notice is given, (2) the content of such notice, and (3) the costs and benefits, for both consumers and commercial Web sites, of providing such notice.
From other questions in GVUs Sixth WWW User Survey, it has been established that people falsify information of online registrations with some regularity and that online community very seriously values its anonymity. Figure 6 attempts to understand why people resist online registration. The most widely cited reason for not registering is that the terms and conditions of how the collected information is going to be used is not clearly specified (70.15%). This corresponds exactly to the conditions under which people would register at sites as seen in Figure 1 and Figure 2 on page * of Section 2.1. User also feel very strongly that revealing the requested information is not worth being able to access the site (65.95%). Thus, while the foremost problem of providing terms and conditions of user can be easily rectified, the latter problem of making the trade-off equitable between revealing demographic informationa and accessing a site is not as straight forward. An equally difficult issue is building trust between entities, especially with older users. Over 62% report that they do not trust the collecting site. Efforts that attempt to help ensure the data privacy standards of sites, like E-Trust may be able to help alleviate this lack of trust.
The time it takes a user to complete the registration form is a factor (38.9%), but not as significant as the others. Much of the remaining difficulties reside in the type of information collected, with 45.33% not registering because of postal address requirements, 30.74% because of name requirements, and 21.99% because of email address requirements. Thus, proposals that call for business cards to be built into the browser and protocols which would enable them to be easily deposited at sites is not the cure-all for this problem even though they may help facilitate registration at sites.