Most governments have adopted a hands-off approach to Internet privacy - watching and waiting for the Web industry to regulate itself. Organisations like Truste still say that this is the right course to take. Truste oversees privacy policies for more than 1300 Web sites, including those belonging to RealNetworks and Amazon.com's Alexa. According to Bob Lewin, CEO of Truste, RealNetworks' response to allegations of privacy abuses demonstrates that self-regulation works.
Lewin says that Truste convinced RealNetworks to issue a patch that prevents its software from assigning a unique identification number to each user. Truste also persuaded the company executives to appoint a chief privacy officer and to release RealPlayer 7.0 using an opt-in model, so that consumers must actively choose to create a unique ID number, rather than the more common opt-out model used by the majority of Web sites. "We did all of that in the space of one week," Lewin says. "You show me any government body that moves that fast."