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10 Online Retailers Who Respect Your Privacy

Fifth-most respectful:
Privacy score: 86
RadioShack (RSH) uses a dozen different trackers on its site, but only one, Media Innovation Group, is a very prominent presence. Fortunately, MIG is one of the good guys, itself getting 49 out of 50 possible points in privacyscore's assessment of the company.

Fourth-most respectful:
Privacy score: 87
The jewelry merchant turns in a solid performance on both sides of the football, so to speak: It gets 40 out of 50 points for its privacy policy and uses its only third-party tracker rather sparingly.

Third-most respectful:
Privacy score: 89, a custom apparel site, gets 45 out of 50 possible points for its privacy policy, and most of its tracking is done by Google (GOOG), which has a perfect privacy score.

Second-most respectful:
Privacy score: 90
Like Zazzle, Etsy is another site aimed at creative types, serving as a marketplace for art and other homemade wares. According to privacyscore, it does not appear to use third-party trackers to gather users' browsing data, earning it a coveted perfect 50 on that end of the equation.

The most respectful online retailer:
Privacy score: 95
Lowe's (LOW) does use a couple of third-party trackers, but they show up very rarely and the biggest presence belongs to Google. As such, it gets a perfect 50 on that side of the calculation. On the privacy policy side, the site gets 45 out of 50 possible points, losing only five points because it doesn't promise to alert users in the event of a government data request.

Interestingly, that's an area where even the best Web sites tend to fall short -- it seems that very few sites will tell you if the government wants a peek at your data.

"We think it's reasonable for users to expect to be told if the government comes asking for personal data," says Jim Brock, founder of privacyscore parent company PrivacyChoice. "Of course, a user can't expect a site to violate the law in doing so, but a site can and should promise to keep them informed when they can do so legally."

Dishonorable mention
On the other end of the spectrum were a few online retailers who failed to make the grade when it comes to their privacy and third-party tracking policies. Some of the worst offenders were (privacy score: 34), with a privacy policy that leaves open the possibility it will share your personal data with unaffiliated companies, and (privacy score: 31), which gets punished for its use of poorly rated trackers such as Baynote and Proclivity.

The worst of the worst, though, was (privacy score: 25), which earned zero points for its privacy policy.

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