RealTime IT News

Microsoft Becomes TRUSTe Sponsor and Licensee

TRUSTe, the global industry initiative addressing online privacy, said that Microsoft has become a premier sponsor and licensee of the TRUSTe program.

As part of its licensing commitment, Microsoft has agreed to implement TRUSTe's privacy seal program and adhere to its principles of fair information practices and enforcement.

The agreement significantly boosts TRUSTe's reach among consumers on the Internet, bringing the list of licensees to 150, with 15 being among the top-20 most visited Web sites, the organization said.

TRUSTe said its privacy seal now reaches an impressive 90% of U.S. Internet users, according to market researcher Relevant Knowledge.

"With the addition of Microsoft, the TRUSTe privacy seal will be seen by consumers who access the Internet via all of the major consumer gateways, which include America Online, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Netscape and Yahoo!," said Susan Scott, executive director of TRUSTe. "In a very short period of time, the industry has demonstrated significant progress in protecting consumer privacy online."

Microsoft will join other companies in providing financial support of TRUSTe's operations and consumer and industry privacy education efforts. The TRUSTe initiatives are aimed at educating consumers on how they can protect their privacy online and communicating to industry that fair information practices are important to the growth of online commerce.

Companies can license the TRUSTe seal or "trustmark" by downloading an online licensing agreement and invoice from the TRUSTe Web site. After the agreement and licensing fees have been received, TRUSTe works with the applicant to create a unique privacy statement that describes how the site will use any personal information the customer may provide. The site will then be given the TRUSTe trustmark to place on their site. Licensing fees range from $249 to $4,999 depending on the revenue of the applicant's organization.

TRUSTe says it assures users that sites are indeed doing what they claim through periodic site reviews and provides consumers with a dispute resolution mechanism.

Sponsors include America Online; AT&T; CyberCash; Excite; IBM; Lands' End; InterNex; MatchLogic; Microsoft; Netcom; Netscape; Oracle; and Compaq, Tandem Division, Macworld, PCWEEK, Wired Ventures and Yahoo Internet Life.