Online toy stores fall short on privacy protections

By Jessica Davis, InfoWorld |  Business

ONLINE TOY STORES in the United States fall short in providing consumers with clear information about their personal and privacy protections, according to a best practices review released Wednesday by Washington-based Clicksure.

Clicksure's review of the top 10 toy-store sites found that although most companies posted a privacy policy on their sites, nearly half posted the policy in an area not easily accessible during the purchase process.

In addition, 70 percent did not identify the personal information collected by the Web site, according to Clicksure.

Clicksure gathered the data using its Discovery Snapshots tool, a service offering for e-commerce sites that provides an analysis of the public side of the site measuring it against Clicksure's best practices.

The Discovery Snapshot focuses on the parts of the site the consumers see -- the privacy policy, the "provisions of information," or how company information is displayed on the site, and the methods available for consumers to file complaints. These three areas make up 41 percent of Clicksure's eight best practice principals, according to Pamela Shearon, business development executive for the company.

The best practices review of toy sites also found that 30 percent of these online stores failed to provide users with a clear statement about the use of cookies. And 20 percent of Web sites reviewed did not tell consumers how their personal information would be used.

Online toy stores also fall short in giving customers a way to respond to them on the site. A full 80 percent did not provide a means for consumers to file complaints.

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