RealTime IT News

BBBOnLine, Corporate Giants Push for Privacy Policies

BBBOnLine, a subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), joined more than two dozen global companies in encouraging Web sites engaged in e-commerce to post policies that respect individual privacy.

The companies--all sponsors of the BBBOnLine's new Privacy Program--are pioneers and leaders in the development of electronic commerce.

They include: America Online, American Express, AMR Corp. (American Airlines and Travelocity), AT&T, Bank of America, Dell, Dun & Bradstreet, Eastman Kodak, Equifax, Experian, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, J.C. Penney, MCI WorldCom, Microsoft, New York Times Electronic Media, Procter & Gamble, Reed Elsevier (LEXIS-NEXIS), Sony Electronics, US WEST, Viacom and Xerox.

BBBOnLine is among the sponsors of a study, to be conducted in March by Georgetown University Professor Mary J. Culnan, to determine how prevalent privacy policies are on the Web. The results, which will be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, are expected to provide an update on a similar study conducted directly by the FTC last year. The results of the study are expected be included in an FTC report to Congress.

"The first study by the FTC helped focus attention on the importance of respecting consumer privacy in cyberspace," said Russell Bodoff, senior vice president and chief operating officer, BBBOnLine.

"BBBOnLine and its sponsors encourage all Web sites that collect information to post privacy policies and apply for a BBBOnLine Privacy Seal to let customers know the site does what it says with regard to the collection and use of personal information."

The BBBOnLine Privacy Program, which is now accepting applications from businesses, will begin awarding seals next month.

Businesses wishing to apply for the program or those seeking more information can contact the BBBOnLine site.