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Read The Privacy Policy

Many websites ask that you provide information such as a name and email address to sign up for a newsletter, register for site services, download software, or a variety of other reasons.

If a website requests that I submit such personal information, the first thing I do is look for the site Privacy Policy or an equivalent document. If the site doesn't have a Privacy Policy, then I would be quite hesitant to provide my details. An adequate Privacy Policy doesn't have to be some elaborate legal document. A brief write up that outlines what information is collected from site users, how the information will be used and who will have access to the information is often quite sufficient. There should be enough information in the Privacy Policy so that you can easily decide whether you can comfortably provide personal information. The policy should also provide an email address so that you can make further enquires if you still have concerns.

Some sites may provide their privacy information as part of their "About" page, or in a "Terms of Service" document. The information might also be incorporated into the sign up page itself.

Regardless of how the privacy information is delivered, one fact should be paramount. You have the right to know what a site intends to do with personal data you supply, and it is reasonable to expect that the site will provide this information freely and conspicuously.

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Computer Security - Internet Security - Security Information

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen