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Privacy of Online Shoppers Must Be Protected

The privacy protection of online shoppers is one of the hot topics for debate today, but no one seems to have a solution that is viable or everyone. Firstly, the privacy laws that are in existence today were made at a time when the lawmakers did not even have an inkling that one day, a phenomenon such as online shopping would occur in the future. Also, the online privacy methods seem to be evolving so rapidly that the existing privacy laws are all but a hindrance. So, the big question now is that can someone come up with the law that allows you to shop without being tracked.

Online PrivacyLaws the Govern Usage of Credit Card for Offline Shopping Useless In Digital Age

Firstly, there are laws that protect the privacy of the customers who are shopping. With the extensive usage of credit cards, a few laws were made that helped customers use credit cards without compromising their privacy. These laws were made in 1971 when online shopping was not even in existence and the internet was not so intertwined with our lives.

Here’s how it works. A sales clerk has all the legal rights to ask the customer to provide a proof of identity if he/she is using a credit card. However, if the clerk stores the information is any way, direct or indirect, then the store can face a fine of up to $1,000 by the authorities. There is an exception to this rule if the customer asks the product to be delivered to his/her address. So, basically, this is in favor of the store or the merchant, not in the favor of the customer.

Are Personal Details Really Required?

Imagine that you buy an iPad or an iPod, which is a personal device, online. The procedure dictates that you have to provide your personal details to the online retailer if the device has to be activated. There is virtually no logic in this methodology of activation, especially in the state of California where privacy is a constitutional right. There is no logic in paying such a high amount for a device that is completely worthless without divulging your privacy.

Retailers Have a Different Point of View

A case involving a number of online retailers was filed in the Supreme Court during the first week of November, 2012. Their argument about this particular issue was that they collect personal information from the customers only to prevent cases of identity theft or fraud. They argued that they never get to see the customer who is using the credit card and hence, they have no way of ascertaining if it is user of the credit card or someone who has stolen the card. The only way to ascertain this is by asking the address, even if it means breaking the law made by the state of California.

How Can You Safeguard Yourself In Spite of The Requirements?

Never provide your personal details, including your email ID and social networking ID, unless it is absolutely essential. Even if you divulge, make sure that you only provide the bare minimum information. If there are stores that do not provide loyalty cards or club cards, support them by shopping in their stores as there are less chances of online privacy intrusion there. If you are given an option, don’t apply for loyalty or bonus cards.

Try to shop in stores where there are no registration cards for activation of purchased products. It is recommended that you shop online only after taking proper precautions as the existing circumstances are not in the favor of consumer privacy protection. Also, try to shop online only if you cannot head out to the store.

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