Industry initiates Web site privacy policy adoption

Industry initiates Web site privacy policy adoption

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

A handful of companies have begun testing products that incorporate the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.

P3P translates Web site privacy policies into an Extensible Markup Language statement that can be read automatically by P3P-enabled Web browsers.

Users set their own privacy preferences in their browsers, and P3P compares the preferences against the policy at each Web site visited.

Products in session

Client P3P products demonstrated at an interoperability session hosted in June by the W3 Consortium in New York came from the Electronic Network Consortium of Japan; Engage Technologies Inc. of Andover, Mass.; IDcide Inc. of Saratoga, Calif.; Microsoft Corp.; and You powered Inc. of New York.

IBM Corp. and Invisible Hand Software LLC of Fairfax, Va., demonstrated policy generators. Invisible Hand's privacy seal costs $30; details appear at www.PrivacyBot.com.

Microsoft announced P3P support for next year's update of the Windows operating system, which it said will incorporate the Internet Explorer browser. The company also plans to release a P3P privacy statement generator this year. The generator will guide site operators through a series of questions about privacy policies and generate an XML statement in P3P format.

A number of Web sites already claim P3P compliance. They include America Online Inc. of Dulles, Va., at www.aol.com; AT&T Corp. at www.att.com; the Center for Democracy and Technology at www.cdt.org; Engage Technologies of Andover, Mass., at www.engage.com; Hewlett-Packard Co. at www.hp.com; IBM at www.ibm.com; Microsoft at www.microsoft.com; Procter and Gamble Co. of Cincinnati at www.pg.com; the W3 Consortium at www.w3.org; and the White House at www.whitehouse.gov.

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