Home | Money News | Archives | Contact Us

Example of a Flawed Privacy Policy and Disregard for Consumers' Internet Security

Actual McAfee Privacy Policy

McAfee.com is a licensee of the TRUSTe Privacy Program. TRUSTe is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to build users' trust and confidence in the Internet by promoting the use of fair information practices. Because this Web site wants to demonstrate its commitment to your privacy, it has agreed to disclose its information practices and have its privacy practices reviewed for compliance by TRUSTe. By displaying the TRUSTe trustmark, this Web site agrees to notify you of:

  1. What personally identifiable information of yours or a third party is collected from you through the Web site
  2. The organization collecting the information
  3. How the information is used
  4. With whom the information may be shared
  5. What choices are available to you regarding collection, use, and distribution of the information
  6. The kind of security procedures that are in place to prevent the loss, misuse, or alteration of information under McAfee.com's control
  7. How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this statement, please send them to privacy@mcafee.com. For questions or concerns regarding non-privacy statement issues, please visit our Support Center. If you do not receive acknowledgment of your inquiry or your inquiry has not been satisfactorily addressed, you should then contact TRUSTe at http://www.truste.org/users/users_watchdog.html. TRUSTe will then serve as a liaison with the Web site to resolve your concerns. McAfee.com is committed to protecting your privacy!

McAfee.com is vigilant about protecting your privacy as a consumer. As a data security company, we understand better than most the need for you to maintain control over your personal data when using the Internet. We maintain your privacy through the enforcement of strict internal polices that exceed industry standards.

We Protect Your Right to Privacy

McAfee.com respects your privacy. Our guidelines for protecting the information you provide us during a visit to our Web site appear below. Furthermore, McAfee.com is a registered licensee of TRUSTe. TRUSTe is an independent, non-profit initiative whose mission is to build users' trust and confidence in the Internet by promoting the principles of full disclosure and informed consent. Because we want to demonstrate our commitment to your privacy, we have agreed to disclose our information practices and to have our privacy practices reviewed and audited for compliance by TRUSTe. These include:

What information we gather/track How we use the information With whom we share the information Our opt-out policy Our policy on correcting and updating personally identifiable information Our policy on deleting or deactivating your name from our database Our policy regarding children who visit our site

Privacy Statement

This statement discloses the privacy practices for www.mcafee.com. We have designed McAfee.com so that no personal identifying information is displayed online or is accessible to the general public.

What Information We Gather/Track

We collect some or all of the following information about our users: name; email address; and billing information, such as address, phone number and credit card number. We will only store your credit card number if you give us permission to do so. We also receive and may store certain types of information whenever you interact with us. For example, like many Web sites, we use "cookies", and we obtain certain types of information when your Web browser accesses McAfee.com.

In order to tailor our subsequent communications to you and continuously improve our products and services (including registration), we may also ask you to provide us with information regarding your personal or professional interests, demographics, experience with our products, and more detailed contact preferences. You will have the option of choosing not to provide us with this information.

Use of Data

McAfee.com uses your information to better understand your needs and provide you with better service. Specifically, we use your information to help you complete a transaction, to communicate back to you, to update you on service and benefits, to personalize our web sites for you, and to manage and renew your subscription(s). Credit card numbers are used only for payment processing and fraud protection, and are not used for other purposes without your permission.

Web Applications

Certain online applications, such as the various elements of the McAfee.com Clinic, store some components on your hard drive. The software employs proprietary technology to scan your computer system and retrieve information regarding your installed software and hardware. The information that is retrieved is used to provide the services you have chosen to subscribe to or use. In addition, unless you indicate you do not want this service, the information will be used to generate advertising that is appropriate for you. The information gathered by these applications is used only to generate output directed to you and is not aggregated or used for any other purpose. It is not stored along with any identifying information about you, nor is it sold, rented, or shared with any outside parties in any form whatever. TRUSTe is currently developing a program to address the collection of data through downloadable consumer software. However, as this program is not yet ready for implementation, TRUSTe does not yet cover data collected in this manner. As soon this program is put in place, McAfee.com looks forward to working with TRUSTe to address this data practice.

Use of Your Email Address

If you provide us with your email address when you register as a customer or make a purchase from us, we will occasionally send you email with recommendations or notices of new products, prices, and services. This email may include paid advertisements from third parties. At the time that you register or make a purchase, you will be given an opportunity to opt in to this service. If you do initially choose to opt in, you may still block future email of this type, simply by following the instructions at the bottom of the update messages.

Separately, we send service notifications via email to keep you informed about the status of your service orders or accounts and to provide updates and technical notices. These messages are essential to the maintenance of your subscription and the functionality of our services. Therefore there is no opt-out available for service notifications and these messages cannot be blocked. These emails may also include paid advertisements from third parties.

Who We Share It With

McAfee.com will not sell, rent, or lease your personally identifiable information to others. Unless we have your permission or are required by law, we will only share the personal data you provide online with other McAfee.com entities and/or business partners who are acting on our behalf for the uses described in "Use of Data". By contract, third parties such as CyberSource and Beyond.com must comply with their own privacy policies with regard to the renting, selling, or sharing of information. As partners of McAfee.com, they must also offer McAfee.com customers the chance to opt out of information sharing. For advertising purposes, visitor and customer information is statistically aggregated and reported to advertisers. However, we do not disclose to these entities any information that could be used to personally identify you, such as your name, email address, account, password, or transaction history.

Special Relationships McAfee.com has a number of relationships with business partners. These business partners provide a number of different services.

CyberSource and Telecheck are intermediaries in the purchasing process for McAfee.com. CyberSource provides credit card transaction services for McAfee.com. Telecheck provides electronic check processing services for McAfee.com. Both CyberSource and Telecheck verify your purchase information, such as credit card number or checking account number, and authorize your transaction. In doing so, CyberSource and Telecheck have access to sensitive data about users. They do not use this information for any other purpose. Read CyberSource's privacy policy. Read Telecheck's privacy policy.

Beyond.com powers the McAfee.com Store, and in doing so collects information about users, including credit card information. When a user purchases a product from the McAfee.com Store, information about the customer, including name, address, and email address, are shared with McAfee.com. Beyond.com does not share credit card information with McAfee.com. When users purchase products from the McAfee.com Store, Beyond.com asks customers if they wish to receive emails from other software vendors. McAfee.com users can opt out of third-party email from Beyond.com by sending an email to neversell@beyond.com. Read Beyond.com's privacy policy.

Other McAfee.com partners include Fatbrain.com and OnTrack.com. When users access the services these partners provide, they are taken to a McAfee.com-branded version of each of these partners' sites. These sites do not share specific customer information with McAfee.com, only aggregated information about how many McAfee.com customers have visited. These sites do not share user buying behavior information or purchase history with McAfee.com.


When a user or a company signs up to be a McAfee.com affiliate, they do so through LinkShare. LinkShare does share personally identifiable information about affiliates with McAfee.com. This information is not sold, shared, or rented to any third party, and is used internally only to manage and maintain relationships with affiliates.


McAfee.com contains links to other Web sites. Please note that when you click on one of these links, you are 'clicking' to another Web site. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of these linked sites, as their privacy policies may differ from ours.


McAfee.com uses software tags called "cookies" to identify customers when they visit our site. Cookies are used to remember user preferences and maximize performance of our services. Additionally, cookies help us to identify returning users so that we don't ask them to enter their email and McAfee.com password with every visit. The information we collect with cookies is not sold, rented, or shared with any outside parties. We also ask that you fill in your first name and last name in a box so that our customer support services can identify and assist you in case of login problems. We cannot provide subscription services to users whose browsers are set to reject all cookies. We also allow advertisers to set cookies in McAfee.com visitors' browsers. DoubleClick.net sets cookies in McAfee.com visitors' browsers. McAfee.com does not require that users accept cookies from DoubleClick.net in order to access our services. McAfee.com does not have access to the information contained in advertisers' cookies.

This site, McAfee.com, uses the services of Engage for the serving and/or targeting of ads, promotions and other marketing messages. To do this, Engage collects anonymous data through the use of cookies. To learn more about Engage, including your ability to opt out of the Engage system, go to http://www.engage.com/privacy.

Log Files

McAfee.com maintains log files of the traffic that visits the McAfee.com site. We do not link any information gathered in these log files to personally identifying information. Log files are used to manage traffic loads and information technology requirements for providing reliable service. Information collected includes IP addresses and browser types.


The McAfee.com Forum allows subscribers to post questions and join in discussions about McAfee.com services. This is a moderated message board. All messages will be reviewed and may be edited to shorten the message, or clarify the content of the message, as well as to conceal the identity of the individual posting the message. Any information entered into the Forum should be considered public information.


We collect user feedback. We do not typically respond to user feedback in the form of email. We do cull testimonials that appear on the site from our feedback form, but only after we have obtained permission from the senders. Users who would like a response to specific questions concerning the service or their subscriptions are directed to the customer service area. These questions will be respond to as quickly as possible. We read all of our customer service queries and use the information contained therein only to resolve the question at hand. We also post surveys on our site, ranging from one to ten questions. These surveys are optional and all information is collected anonymously. The information is collected to better understand our user population. It is not sold or transferred to any third party.

Correct/Update/Delete User Information

Users can update, correct, or delete their personal information on McAfee.com by clicking on the "My Account Information" link in the upper left hand corner of the webview and the upper right hand corner in the desktop view. Users may cancel their accounts by accessing the How to Cancel page at http://clinic.mcafee.com/clinic/membership/cancel.asp.

Our Privacy Policy Regarding Children who Visit our Site

What Information Is Collected?

It's our policy to create website content that requires minimum collection of information from children visiting our site. From time to time, however, we may request limited personally identifiable information (e.g. a child's email address and/or email address of parent or guardian), as explained below, in order to conduct online contests or sweepstakes or offer other online activities. McAfee.com does not condition a child's participation in any of our online activities on the disclosure of more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity.

McAfee.com will not sell, rent, or lease this information to others. Unless required by law, we will only share the personal data provided online with other McAfee.com entities and/or business partners who are acting on our behalf for the uses described in "Use of Data" or for purposes of conducting a contest or sweepstakes.

Contests and Sweepstakes McAfee.com occasionally offers contests and sweepstakes, which may be entered online. To participate in a contest or sweepstakes, a child is asked to provide his or her first name, last name, email address and age. If the child is 13 years old or younger, the last name and the email address are deleted immediately. He or she is also required to enter the name of a parent and the email address of a parent. We then send the child's parent an email within two business days informing him or her of the child's entry. The parent must respond and approve the child's entry into the contest or the child's information will be deleted from our records. All the information collected by McAfee.com is securely maintained and used only for the purpose of conducting the contest or sweepstakes and notifying the winner(s). The parent will be notified if their child wins the contest if the child is under 13, otherwise the child will be contacted. Once the contest or sweepstakes is finished, we then delete any personal information collected.

Information for Parents

How to Update Your Child's Information
Please use the link provided in the email that we send you following your child's enrollment in our contest OR send an email to kidsinfo@mcafee.com. The email should contain your child's name and email address, as well as which information you would like updated. How to Prevent Use of Your Child's Information (Request Deletion of Record) Please send an email to kidsinfo@mcafee.com with your child's name and email address, along with the request that your child's name should be deleted from our records. How to Contact Us Privacy Coordinator McAfee.com Corp 535 Oakmead Parkway Sunnyvale, CA 94085 USA Tel: (408) 992-8100 Email: privacy@mcafee.com

Information Security

All information gathered on the McAfee.com site is stored and maintained in secure facilities that limit access to authorized personnel only. This personnel can only access the information through a series of access-control procedures. All McAfee.com employees are briefed about the company's privacy and security policies on a regular basis. The McAfee.com Web site is regularly tested for security breaches to ensure that all information collected is secure from unauthorized viewing.

Notification of Changes

If we change our privacy policy, we will post a notice on our site so our users are aware of the change in what information we collect, how we use it, and/or under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their previously submitted information in this different manner. Users may choose to have their information used in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

If you want to advertise to people who are concerned about their online privacy, or want to make sure it is safe to use credit cards that utilize encryption software that will safeguard security online -- please contact us. Whether you choose a cash back card or one of the better 0 APR credit cards, be sure to advertise a safe choice from one of the top credit card services or issuers available who you know you can trust.
Find out more about how to advertise at MyAdvertisingMarket.com.

Back To The Study