Consumers Want Independent Verification of Privacy Policies, Poll Says

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The majority of consumers would rest easier if companies' privacy policies were subject to independent verification, according to a privacy poll released yesterday by Harris Interactive.

Nearly two-thirds of the 1,529 consumers polled said independent verification was the best way to ensure companies were complying with their privacy policies, and 84 percent said such verification should be mandatory for companies collecting personal information. And 91 percent of respondents said they would do more business with a firm that underwent third-party privacy policy verification.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey on behalf of Privacy & American Business, a nonprofit public policy think tank.

Ernst & Young and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants sponsored the poll, which was conducted online from Nov. 5 to Nov. 11. All respondents were U.S. residents 18 or older.

In other findings, the top three concerns respondents cited in regard to companies' use of their personal information had more to do with security than privacy. The top issue was third-party data sharing without permission, with 75 percent expressing concern. The second and third issues were security of transactions and general site security against hackers, with 70 percent and 69 percent, respectively, expressing concern.

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