In 1995 the European Union introduced the Data Protection Directive for its member states. As a result, many organizations doing business within the EUbegan to draft policies to comply with this Directive. In the same year the Federal Trade Commission published the Fair Information Principles, which provided a set of non-binding governing principles for the commercial use of personal information. While not mandating policy, these principles provided guidance of the developing concerns of how to draft privacy policies.
Many critics have attacked the efficacy and legitimacy of privacy policies found on the Internet. Concerns exist about the effectiveness of industry-regulated privacy policies. For example, a 2000 FTC report Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the Electronic Marketplace found that while the vast majority of website surveyed had some manner of privacy disclosure, most did not meet the standard set in the FTC Principles. In addition, many organizations reserve the express right to unilaterally change the terms of their policies. In June 2009 the EFF website TOSback began tracking such changes on 56 popular internet services, including the monitoring the privacy policies of Amazon, Google and Facebook.
There are also questions about whether consumers understand privacy policies and whether they help consumers make more informed decisions. A 2002 report from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab contended that a website