The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Consumers don't know they are being tracked 

The San Francisco Chronicle has published some findings from a study done by the University of Pennsylvania about consumer attitudes and understanding of, among other things, online privacy.

Surprisingly, consumers think the mere presence of a privacy policy is a promise not to share information. Au contraire.

You are being tracked:

"Joseph Turow, a University of Pennsylvania professor who co-authored the study with a pair of grad students, told me he was surprised by how little consumers understand the ways digital technology has altered the retail business.

'The 20th century was about the democratization of prices,' he said. 'We got used to the idea that you could see how much things cost and learn about the product. The digital age changes this.

'Increasingly, what's happening is that people are being tracked and prices are being individualized based on people's behavior and background.'

One of the scarier findings of his study, Turow said, is that three- quarters of all people believe that when a Web site has a privacy policy -- and virtually all do -- it means the site won't share your personal info with others.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Most privacy policies explain in dense, difficult-to-read language that people's data will be shared unless you go to the trouble of opting out from the practice...."

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