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Dark patterns detected in Guernsey gambling sector

Dark patterns detected in Guernsey gambling sector

The Bailiwick of Guernsey’s gambling sector has examples of “dark patterns”, according to The Office Of The Data Protection Authority (ODPA).

It comes following a “privacy sweep” that took part in early 2024 in conjunction with authorities from around the world.

In all, 19 gambling companies operating under a gambling licence issued by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) were selected to be examined.

A ODPA spokesperson said the local results were consistent with global findings with 97% of those sampled containing some form of “deceptive design pattern”.

All sites swept in the bailiwick raised concerns about transparency and showed at least one indicator of deceptive design patterns, ODPA said.

In 42% of cases, the sweeper was unable to find the website or app’s privacy settings.

The absence of privacy settings or difficulty in locating them prevents users from being in control of their data and altering the setting to be more privacy-friendly.

While most sites had a privacy policy or data processing notice, they were largely found to be unnecessarily lengthy or complex.

In many cases it was more difficult to delete an account than it was to create one.

Commissioner Brent Homan said: “Dark patterns involve techniques that drive people down the least privacy-friendly route, leading users to give up more information than they may intend or thwarting attempts to delete data.

“Our sweep of the Bailiwick’s gambling sector raised such concerns.

“We are reaching out to organisations in the gambling industry and look forward to hearing from them, with the steps they are taking to address our concerns.”