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Steel Door Awards: Limiting Distribution of PII and Granting Consumers Control

To practices that keep PII locked up tight and grant consumers the power to control the disposition of their own information we grant
steel door awards. And the awards go to...



1. Not Sharing Consumer PII

By choosing not to share their customer’s personal information with third parties that don’t play a direct role in providing the product or service for which the information was intended businesses are making customer privacy a priority. What little income they might have made selling or sharing PII will be more than made up for by the trusting relationship they are creating with their customers. has a very specific consumer-friendly privacy policy, which states, “We only collect personal information when you request our services, and only use the information collected to provide that service for you… Any personal information provided will not be sold, rented, traded, or otherwise shared with anyone outside of Ghirardelli, or used for reasons beyond those contemplated by this statement. None of Ghirardelli's assistants (such as our shipping or credit card company) retain, share, store, or use personal information for any reason other than providing the requested service.”1 Not only does this policy specifically state that they do not share or sell consumers’ PII, but rest of the privacy policy seems consistent with this statement, leaving the consumer confident that her PII will stay with the company to which she entrusted it.

2. Allowing Customers to Access, Correct and/or Delete their PII

Some privacy policies allow consumers to see what personal information a company has in its possession and change or delete that information from the company’s records. Businesses with privacy policies that allow such a degree of control deserve an award, especially if they provide clear and specific instructions on how to do it. states: “If your personal information changes or if you no longer wish to receive our newsletters, you may correct, amend, or delete your account information at any time.” This is followed by an explanation of how to do this.2 gives consumers the ability to delete their PII from the company's database. Their privacy policy says, "You can request that we remove any personally identifiable information about you from our database or change such information by emailing"3

3. Opt In/Opt Out Policies

Businesses that allow customers to indicate if they want their PII shared with third parties by opting in to a sharing policy afford customers a significant degree of protection and control over their PII. Businesses that share PII by default but offer customers the ability to opt out of sharing offer an equal amount of control, if perhaps a bit less protection. While many of the Web sites we surveyed for this report offered neither option, those that did deserve high praise.'s privacy policy reads, “Any personal information you provide will be used only to complete any orders placed on and with Forecastle Treasures. The only exception is if, in certain situations, you give us explicit permission to release it to a third party.”4

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