The latest quarterly report from the Customer Respect Group (CRG), a US privacy organistaion, says that UK telecoms companies are falling behind in terms of privacy compared to their US and Canadian peers.
The 2007 Q1 study evaluated 54 Web sites across the US, Canada and the UK, analysing them in terms of site usability, communication and trust.
The research concluded that "respect for the privacy of personal data is lower in the UK than in either Canada or US," although it did note that UK Web sites are ahead of those in North America regarding support for users with visual or mobility disabilities.
According to the CRG, telecoms firms, especially in the UK, ask for more personal data than companies in other industries. This data, says the report, "is often unconnected to the request being made by the customer."
Researchers also found that UK Web sites are generally unclear about data sharing practices, with 23 per cent judged to have an explicit policy, compared to 69 per cent in the US.
"It's not only clarity that fails in the UK, but also the actual practices in place. Eleven of the 13 sites routinely share personal data with other internal groups, business partners or third parties without explicit permission," says the report.
"This compared poorly with the US, where 40 per cent share in the same way. The best performing Web site with regards to privacy in the UK was O2," the report adds.
So basically, if I read the report right, it doesn't pay to share personal info with telecoms firms in the UK.