Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — E-tailers should keep their privacy policies concise and readily comprehensible, because the notices are now being read by just 3 percent of their Web sites’ users.
That was one key finding divulged Monday from a November poll of 2,053 online adults in the U.S., taken by Harris Interactive and sponsored by the Privacy Leadership Initiative. “That consumers care deeply about privacy matters is a given,” said PLI executive director David Klaus in a statement. “What is new here is that we have a survey that quantifies consumers’ growing frustration as they wade through lengthy privacy notices.”
Klaus is slated today to tell a Federal Trade Commission interagency workshop of PLI’s effort to stem that frustration by educating consumers. The PLI is doing so, in part, through its development of a “short notice,” which would enable cybersurfers to compare various e-tailers’ online and offline privacy policies in one place.
Currently, 64 percent of Internet users surveyed by Harris ignore or have only glanced at the notices.
“The first step to help consumers is the development of short, clear privacy notices that consumers will read and trust,” Klaus noted. “This study should serve as a wake-up call to businesses to take the next step and educate consumers on matters of personal privacy.”

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