Forty two of the 50 websites most popular with Australians have problems with their privacy statements, the Privacy Commissioner has found.
Timothy Pilgrim said 83 percent of the sites tested had privacy statements that were hard to find or read, were too long or irrelevant, or lacked contact information.
Half of the websites had polices that were too difficult to read with an average length of some 2600 words.
"In my view, this is just too long for people to read through," Pilgrim said in a statement.
"Many policies were also complex, making it difficult for most people to understand what they are signing up to."
Sixty five percent of privacy polices had irrelevant information in their polices which was potentially dangerous, Pilgrim said.
He said the few best organisations used "layered" privacy policies to help explain the implications to users.
The findings come eight months ahead of 12 March 2014 changes to the Federal Privacy Act which will tighten and unify privacy and security requirements.
Those which failed the research may if policies were not updated, also fail the new Australian Privacy Principle 1 which demanded organisations have clear and current privacy policies.
"Organisations need to focus on these requirements and be open and transparent about their privacy practices."