New Web Watchdog Warns Future Brides of's Privacy Rights

WASHINGTON -- Jittery brides-to-be may now have new reasons to worry. Brides who use the may have their personal information sold or used improperly and data they enter about their guests could be misused as well, according to the

In order to use the's information, products, and services, the collects all sorts of personal information about a bride including her name, home address, and email addresses. The site also seeks information related to a bride's wedding day including the date and place of the rehearsal, wedding and reception, name, e-mail address, home address and phone number of wedding guests.

According to the site's privacy statement, information provided to the becomes the property of Wedding Channel and can be shared with the site's partners -- mostly online retailers -- who can then spam brides.

The site's "guest list manager" may also jeopardize the privacy of guests. When brides transfer information about their guests -- their name, phone number, home address and email -- to the "guest list manager," the information is not encrypted. Sending unencrypted information over the Internet can be intercepted by computer hackers en route.

Additionally, a bride planning a "destination wedding," which involves travel away from home for a couple and their guests, could be providing potential hackers with a detailed list of friends and family, their addresses, and when they plan to be away from home.


The security of the has been called into question following the company's own admission that hackers broke into the site in March of 2003. In a lawsuit filed in New York, the company claims their chief competitor, the Knot, broke into their system.

The is owned by New York financier Ron Perelman.

The, created by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), contains information on how brides can protect their privacy and their guests' information.

SEIU is the nation's largest union and is a leading advocate for making companies responsible to their workers, shareholders, and the communities where they operate.

As brides prepare for Spring 2005 weddings, the will conduct education campaigns at bridal expos and shows and on the wedding pages of newspapers around the country. An ad warning brides to protect their privacy appeared in the Sunday, September 12 edition of The New York Times.