BrianWCarver writes "The San Francisco Business Times covers a study by student researchers at UC Berkeley's School of Information pointing up the massive holes in privacy policies and protections of which US companies take advantage. The researchers have released a study and launched a Web site, knowprivacy.org, in which they found that Web bugs from Google and its subsidiaries were placed on 92 of the top 100 Web sites and 88 percent of the approximately 394,000 unique domains examined in the study. This larger data set was provided by the maintainer of the Firefox plugin Ghostery, which shows users which Web bugs are on the sites they visit. The study also found that while the privacy policies of many popular Web sites claim that the sites do not share information with third parties, they do allow third parties to place Web bugs on their sites (which collect this information directly, typically without users' knowledge) and share with corporate 'affiliates.' Bank of America, to take one extreme example, has more than 2,300 affiliates — and users cannot learn their identities. The full report and more findings are available from their Web site."
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