CommercePulse -- earning trust

So far, a concerted industry effort to come up with standard policies for user privacy and data disclosure has found few takers among Web site owners.

Truste, jointly formed by and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a stab at having the industry design and self-regulate codes of conduct for Web data privacy and disclosure. The idea is to come up with common guidelines by which a site lets visitors know what personal information it is collecting from them -- either clandestinely via cookie or via fill-in forms -- and how that information might be used. Members that meet Truste's criteria get to display its seal on their sites.

Truste has 110 members, about a third of which actually sell products, executive director Susan Scott said. Current members include Lands' End, Excite, Netcom, The New York Times and Wired magazine. Disney, Geocities and ZDnet are in the process of being certified, Scott said, and Infoseek and Lycos are "good bets" to be certified soon.

Still, that's just a handful out of the vast Web galaxy that includes 500,000 to 1 million (depending on who's doing the counting) commercial sites.

If Web merchants refuse to join this attempt at self-regulation, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Clinton administration will take this as a message that the government must step in, Scott said. Indeed, the FTC has been surveying some 1200 Web sites to determine how many owners are publishing privacy policy statements.

The report will be published this month. While numbers aren't available, industry scuttlebut has it that reviewers have found a miniscule percentage of sites with published privacy policy statements.

Meanwhile, users are making their dissatisfaction felt. Georgia Tech's 1997 survey, for example, found that more than 71 per cent of respondents wanted new laws to protect their online privacy.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?