12 Internet Companies, TrustE Form Privacy Partnership 2000



In an effort to educate consumers about how to protect their privacy in an online world, 12 Internet companies and nonprofit organization TrustE today kicked off a multimedia campaign that involves newspapers, radio ads, and online banner ads.

Dubbed the Privacy Partnership 2000, the initiative is designed to show consumers the resources available to help them protect their online privacy. Those resources include TrustE's consumer-education Web pages. Participants in the effort include AltaVista, America Online, BrightStreet, [email protected], IBM, Intel, Lycos, Microsoft, Persona, RealNetworks, Verizon Communications, and Yahoo.

The campaign is also attempting to build awareness of the TrustE privacy seal, awarded to Web sites that adhere to established privacy principles and agree to comply with TrustE's oversight and consumer-resolution process. A site displaying a seal agrees that it will openly share, at a minimum, what personal information is being gathered, how it will be used, with whom it will be shared, and whether the user has an option to control its dissemination. About 1,800 sites have been certified and carry the TrustE privacy seal, and 400 to 500 sites are pending certification.

"Everyone has a right to control the uses of their personal information," Bob Lewin, CEO and executive director of TrustE, said during a press conference announcing the initiative. "It is critical to begin educating people through offline media and begin educating mainstream consumers, not just the tech savvy."

Each of the 12 companies working on the initiative is donating cash and resources. Some are even donating banner ads that will promote the initiative. [email protected], for example, is donating 2.5 million impressions during next the four weeks that will run on a variety of its properties, including Excite.com, Excite Classifieds, and WebCrawler.com.

The minimum amount of cash and donations from each participant is $25,000, Lewin says. The initial value of the program, which he says will be an ongoing initiative, is more than $500,000. The initiative will include print advertising "with the bold rally cry, 'Protect Your Privacy Online,' " Lewin said. The full-page ads will begin running in mid-August in 26 major metropolitan newspapers. There will also be public service announcements on radio stations and 20 million to 40 million banner ad impressions during August.

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