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Fox News, CNET Among More Private News Websites: PrivacyScore

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Fox News' website isn't just fair and balanced, it's also among the most protective of web users' personal information, according to a new rating system called PrivacyScore.

PrivacyChoice LLC, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., developed PrivacyScore as a way to assess the privacy risk of using a website, according to the company. PrivacyScore considers nine factors, and assigns websites a numerical score from zero to 100.

So what factors go into PrivacyScore?

A PrivacyScore rating considers and assigns points for the website's privacy policy -- in particular, whether the site:

  • Shares personal data (up to 30 points);
  • Deletes data promptly when you close your account (10 points);
  • Notifies a user of government requests for personal data (5 points); and
  • Requires confidentiality from vendors who can access personal data (5 points).

PrivacyScore also looks at the privacy policies of third-party companies that collect user data at a website, the company explains. The formula assigns points for:

  • Not associating a user's personal data with a user's profile (20 points);
  • Deleting user data within one year (10 points);
  • Being subject to oversight by industry organizations (10 points);
  • Steering clear of personal information like health history and financial records (5 points); and
  • Allowing a user to opt out of targeted advertising (5 points).

Among mainstream U.S. news websites, Fox News emerged on top with a PrivacyScore of 84, according to the website ZDNet (which itself got a PrivacyScore of 73). Other high-scoring sites included The New York Post, CNET, The Washington Post, and MSNBC.

At the other end of the spectrum, low-scoring websites should raise a red flag, PrivacyChoice says. Users should consider activating their web browser's "tracking protection" features as added protection, the company suggests.

PrivacyScore's website-rating tool debuted Feb. 12. You can check it out for yourself by clicking here.

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