Top online dating websites investigated by ICO

The ICO has now written to eHarmony, match.com, Cupid and Global Personals

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is investigating the personal data practices of four of the UK's biggest online dating companies.

The investigation follows a recent survey by the ICO of major UK dating websites, which identified areas where the Data Protection Act was not being followed.

The ICO has now written to eHarmony, match.com, Cupid and Global Personals, as well as industry trade body the Association of British Introduction Agencies.

The ICO has outlined the main areas of concern that the survey found and the companies are being asked to respond with how they are addressing those concerns.

Areas which the ICO is concerned about include poor visibility of the terms and conditions that give the website consent to use personal information in certain ways, and those terms and conditions making reference to the dating company having "perpetual" or "irrevocable" licence to use members' data.

It is also concerned about websites claiming to take no responsibility for the loss of or damage to personal information, and users being expected to provide personal details before terms and conditions are provided.

The ICO letters came as the BBC's Panorama programme investigated the "scale of apparent unscrupulous practices being employed by some dating websites", said the ICO.

Simon Entwisle, ICO director of operations, said: "The evidence we're being presented with by the media suggests quite concerning business practices by some dating websites, and there are particular questions around how people's information is being used that need to be answered."

Entwisle said, "While media reports are painting a disturbing picture, the number of complaints we're getting from the public is not very high. That could be because this is only an issue with a small minority of websites, or it could be because people are reluctant to come forward.

"The work we're doing now will help us better understand the scale of the issue."

The ICO has encouraged users of dating websites to come forward if they have concerns about the way their data is being used.

Tags: ico, BBC, eHarmony, security, Information Commissioner's Office, public sector, IT Business

Symantec draws new security picture

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Comments are now closed.
CSO Corporate Partners
  • Webroot
  • Trend Micro
  • NetIQ
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to CSO, invitation only events, reports & analysis.
CSO Directory

ZENworks® Endpoint Security Management

Protect against bugs in USB Storage devices

Latest Jobs
Security Awareness Tip

Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).


  1. Have an incident response plan.

  2. Pre-define your incident response team 

  3. Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.

  4. Pre-distribute call cards.

  5. Forensic and incident response data capture.

  6. Get your users on-side.

  7. Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement. 

  8. Practice makes perfect.

For the full breakdown on this article

Security ABC Guides

Warning: Tips for secure mobile holiday shopping

I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.