Privacy Commissioner keeps websites in popularity sweep private

The Australian Privacy Commissioner is doing a sweep of the most popular websites visited by Australians, but won't disclose the list until he has finished his investigation.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will review the top 50 most popular websites visited by Australians to assess accessibility, readability, and the content of the privacy policies of those sites, but it will not disclose which sites it is targeting until the sweep has been completed.

It is part of a global sweep with 19 other privacy agencies around the world, the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.

"Organisations need to be open and transparent about how they collect, use, and disclose personal information. A clear and easy to understand privacy policy is one way that organisations can assist people to exercise control over their own information," he said in a statement. "This is even more important in an online environment where personal information is sometimes used in ways that individuals may not expect."

Pilgrim said he would examine the privacy policies of the 50 sites to see how they rate against the new Australian Privacy Principles that come into effect in March 2014.

"With new privacy laws coming into place next year, a specific new requirement is for organisations to manage personal information in a more open and transparent way," he said.

"We will use the results of this sweep to develop guidance on the new requirements in the lead up to March 2014, and to educate organisations about privacy policies."

When asked by ZDNet for the list of the 50 sites that the OAIC plans to review, a spokesperson for the office said that the list would be kept private until the results of the sweep are released later this year.

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