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.

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