*Study: Web Sites Missing Privacy Mark

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WASHINGTON -- Forty-four percent of business Web sites require customers to submit information irrelevant to a purchase transaction when buying online, according to the results of a Clicksure study released at the Global Privacy Summit 2000 here yesterday.

"The reality is that a lot of e-businesses do not meet what people want -- they do not meet best practices," said Christopher Upton, CEO of Clicksure, an e-confidence company and provider of the Clicksure Mark approval seal for Internet businesses practices, including privacy.

Other findings in Clicksure's Discovery Snapshot Web site review of 500 government, business and health sites in the United States and Europe between July and September, included that 72 percent of health sites did not disclose whether they provide personal information to third parties, with 38 percent not posting privacy policies at all.

Although 100 percent of the U.S. government sites reviewed had privacy policies in place, 75 percent were found to potentially be insecure.

Of the European government sites visited, only 13 percent displayed privacy policies, and 62 percent were found to have potential security problems.

Detailed data regarding the business sites reviewed has yet to be released.

•Lau: Businesses Take Heed

Privacy issues cost businesses sales, according to Stephen M Lau, commissioner for personal data, Hong Kong SAR's keynote address at The Global Privacy Summit 2000, here yesterday at Omni Shoreham Hotel.

"Businesses take heed," he said.

Lau stressed fair information practices, privacy impact assessment, and data protection as essential steps for business and government alike.

Despite self-regulatory attempts made by private sector businesses, Lau advocated legislation for the protection of consumers' privacy.

When citizens feel that their privacy is protected, their relationships with business and government improve, said Lau.

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