Stating that inadequate privacy protection is a major barrier to the growth of e-commerce, Microsoft has announced a multi-pronged initiative to strengthen consumer privacy over the Internet, including a promise not to advertise on those Web sites that do not have strong privacy policies.
Speaking at his PC Expo keynote here, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold said that beginning January 1, 2000, Microsoft will restrict its advertising space in the U.S. market to those sites with "comprehensive" privacy policies.
Web sites' policies must cover several core principles including notice of customer information being collected, consent to provide such information, access to that information, security of information including considerations for children and the enforcement of the privacy statement.
Herbold said users and vendors crafting policy statements can use a tool endorsed by Microsoft today called the Privacy Wizard, a free tool that presents users with a series of straightforward questions and that generates a template privacy statement that can be reviewed and amended, and then posted. Herbold said that about 2,000 companies have used the Privacy Wizard to create privacy statements.
Microsoft will work to make the tool more widely available through its Web site as well as through its MSN network, Herbold said.
Putting its money where its mouth is, Herbold also announced today that Microsoft will extend its own privacy policies to better protect its own customers. The company will help spearhead the development of a standard platform for privacy, called the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) that was started by the World Wide Consortium.
Finally, Herbold said the company's strengthened commitment to security is reflected in its Microsoft Passport which is an existing tool that lets users and vendors create a single "wallet" name and password they can use on multiple Web sites.
For more information users can contact http://www.microsoft.com.