| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 12, 1999
Contact: Sydney Rubin 202/339-0111
Ignition Strategic Communications
PRIVACY ALLIANCE SAYS WEB SWEEPS CONFIRM SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN
Privacy Efforts Result in 94% of Top 100 Web Sites Posting Privacy
Policies to Help Consumers
Shows 66% of Representative Web Sites Sampled Have Posted Privacy
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 1999) - The Online Privacy Alliance
(OPA), a coalition of global businesses and trade associations committed
to consumer privacy through self-regulation, said today's release
confirm that significant progress has been made in safeguarding privacy
Survey looked at 364 ".com" Web sites, a random sampling selected
from the 7,500 most visited Web sites. The OPA Top 100 survey duplicated
last years FTC review of the 100 most heavily trafficked sites.
Survey found 65.7 percent had posted at least one type of privacy
The OPA survey showed that 94 percent of the top 100 Web sites had
posted at least one type of privacy disclosure, up from 71 percent
from last year.
"What a difference
a year makes," said Christine Varney, a former FTC Commissioner
and advisor and spokeswoman for the OPA. "In a relatively short
time, privacy policies have become commonplace on popular consumer
Web sites and there are reputable, independent programs exercising
rigorous oversight to make sure companies abide by their policies."
that the results also showed work remains to be done to make privacy
policies universal on the Internet and consumers confident that
their privacy is respected online.
of the surveys were released today to the Federal Trade Commission
and the advisors to the study. An electronic version of the surveys
will be available Thursday at www.privacyalliance.org.
conducted by Professor Mary J. Culnan of Georgetown University's
McDonough School of Business, were requested by the Federal Trade
Commission. Media Metrix was the source of the data for the surveys.
Ernst & Young hosted the data collection. The Georgetown Survey
was funded by the companies listed below, and the Online Privacy
Alliance funded the Top 100 Survey.
reflects the reality of the places people really go on the Web,"
Dr. Culnan said. "It is a good picture of privacy disclosures at
the web sites 98.8 percent of consumers visit."
The OPA will
use the results to guide outreach efforts in the coming year. "Clearly
we must continue to promote privacy to make sure all Web sites
including those run by start ups and small businesses follow the
example of larger businesses in posting policies and understanding
the importance of protecting consumer privacy," Varney said.
taken together, show that industry is creating a well-lit thoroughfare
on the Internet where consumers can feel safe. And consumers, while
concerned about their privacy, are conducting business online in
record numbers," Varney said. "Policymakers should recognize progress
in self-regulation and not rush to regulate the Net in ways that
could undermine electronic commerce."
Over the last
year, private industry has: created the Online Privacy Alliance
of 85 companies and associations; drafted guidelines to be used
by companies in writing privacy policies; developed standards for
protecting children's privacy; developed a framework to guide privacy
seal programs like BBBOnLine and TRUSTe; and, conducted briefings
and mailings that advocated privacy protection online to more than
17,000 corporate executives at hundreds of companies nationwide.
OPA member companies have undertaken massive efforts to encourage
their peers online to post privacy policies and to educate consumers
in how to safeguard their privacy. A more complete listing of privacy
initiatives undertaken by dozens of OPA member companies and associations
can be found at this website, where OPA also has posted a list
of consumer tips and a summary of some technological tools being
developed and marketed to protect consumer privacy.
as these by the private sector, combined with rigorous enforcement
of existing laws, are the best way to protect consumer privacy,"
Varney said. She noted last week's settlement between the FTC and
Liberty Financial Companies of Boston in which the multi-billion
dollar investment company agreed to change the way it collected
personal information from teenagers and children. "Government has
the means to enforce ethical behavior online."
companies and associations include: 3Com, Acxiom, AdForce, America
Online, Inc., American Advertising Federation, American Electronics
Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants,
Ameritech, Apple Computer, Association of Online Professionals,
AT&T, Bank of America, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, Business Software
Alliance, CASIE (CASIE is representing Association of National Advertisers
& American Association of Advertising Agencies), Centraal Corporation,
Cisco, CommTouch Software, Compaq, Computer Systems Policy Project
(CSPP), Council of Growing Companies, Dell, Direct Marketing Association,
Disney, DoubleClick Inc., Dun & Bradstreet, Eastman Kodak, Co.,
eBay Inc., EDS, EDventure Holdings, Inc., E-LOAN, Engage Technologies
Inc., Equifax, Ernst and Young, European-American Business Council,
Experian, Fast Forward/IAB, Ford, Gateway, GeoCities, Hewlett-Packard,
IBM, Individual Reference Services Group, Information Technology
Association of America, Information Technology Industry Council,
INSUREtrust.com LLC, InsWeb Corporation, Intel Corp, Interactive
Digital Software Association, Interactive Travel Services Association
(ITSA), Internet Alliance, Intuit, KPMG, LEXIS-NEXIS, MatchLogic,
MCI WorldCom, Microsoft, MindSpring Enterprises Inc., Motion Picture
Association of America, National Foundation for Consumer Credit,
NCR, Nestle' USA, Netscape, NORTEL, northpole.com. LLC, Novell,
Oracle, Preview Travel, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PrivaSeek, Inc.,
Procter & Gamble, Rights Exchange, Inc., Software & Information
Industry Association, Sun Microsystems, The United States Chamber
of Commerce, The United States Council for International Business,
Time Warner Inc., Unilever United States, Inc., Viacom, ViewCall
Canada, Inc., Virtual Vineyards, WebConnect, Women.com Networks,
Xerox, and Yahoo!.
Survey included: America Online Inc., American Express Company,
BBBOnLine, Compaq, eBay, eDirect, Ernst & Young LLP, The
Direct Marketing Association, IBM, Media Metrix Inc., Microsoft,
MatchLogic, Online Privacy Alliance, Privaseek Inc., Time Warner,
TRUSTe and Wave Systems.
for Democracy and Technology, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation
of America, Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League,
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, George Mason University and The Named.