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Privacy Policies of Major Online Retailers

Review the privacy policies of three major online retailers (such as Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart). Prepare a short report that answers the following:
(a) Which Web site offers the most privacy to its customers?
(b) What specific passages in the competitors' privacy policies support your conclusion?
(c) Does the information you have learned affect your decision to use these Web sites? Why/why not?

Feel free to include in your report a table that summarizes the similarities and differences of the Web sites you visited. Please use companies other than the three mentioned above.

Solution Preview

The Safari text discusses some issues regarding privacy that we should be concerned with. But what is privacy? According to http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/projects/devglossary/_privacy.html,"privacy" is defined as:

"Privacy: 1. In a communications system or network, the protection given to information to conceal it from unauthorized persons having access to the system or network at large. Synonym segregation.
2. In a communications system, protection given to unclassified information, such as radio transmissions of law enforcement personnel, that requires safeguarding from unauthorized persons.
3. In a communications system, the protection given to prevent unauthorized disclosure of the information in the system.
Note 1: The required protection may be accomplished by various means, such as by communications security measures and by directives to operating personnel.
Note 2: The limited protection given certain voice and data transmissions by commercial crypto equipment is sufficient to deter a casual listener, but cannot withstand a competent cryptanalytic attack."

I have decided to analyze the privacy of travel websites such as Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline.

Travelocity
From Travelocity.com:
Our privacy policy sets forth our policies regarding the collection, use and protection of the personal information of those using the Travelocity website. Personal information means information that can be linked to a specific individual, such as name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and credit card number.
We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy, and become familiar with it, but you should know that we do not sell or rent our customers' personal information to third parties.

Thus, Travelocity has comprehensive privacy policy. This Privacy Policy is effective as of June 21, 2006. They may change or supplement this Privacy Policy from time to time. Any material changes in the way Travelocity uses personal information will be described in future versions of this Privacy Policy.

Expedia
Privacy and Security Policy
It has disclosed the various type of information collected from the users:

1) In General.
We receive and store any information you enter on our Web site or give us in any other way including your first and last name, ...

Solution Summary

This is a discussion on the privacy policies of online retailers and analyzes which website offers the most privacy to its customers.

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