DPAs from Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific monitor privacy policies on websites

Data Protection Authorities from around the globe are this week organising an “Internet Privacy Sweep” to examine the transparency of companies’ websites.

The initiative will help enforcement authorities to identify sites or apps which may warrant further assessment or follow-up. The participating authorities are from Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Macao, Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States (Federal Trade Commission). In Canada, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia is also taking part.

It is up to each authority how to choose the websites. For example, Canada will look at a few hundred most visited websites.

The key questions are;

• Does the site have a privacy policy?
• How difficult is it to find information about the site’s privacy practices?
• Is contact information for addressing privacy questions and concerns readily available?
• How readable is the information about privacy practices?

The authorities stress that the initiative is not an investigation, nor is it intended to conclusively identify compliance issues or legislative breaches.

This is a project organised by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN).

Data Protection Authorities from over one-third (5 out of the above 14 countries) will be speakers, including in a session on their enforcement co-operation, at PL&B's 26th Annual International Conference, 1-3 July at Queens' College, Cambridge.