Today’s report by the Federal Trade Commission, Privacy Online: A Report to Congress, should serve as a further catalyst for the entire online community to develop strong information practices that serve to put people of all ages in control of their personal information. The tremendous promise of the Internet will only be fully realized if people feel empowered and have confidence in the medium. Electronic commerce and other advanced, interactive Internet applications will not develop without consumers’ feeling comfortable and assured about exchanging information, and that willingness to exchange must be built on trust.
“Microsoft is committed to building consumer trust on the Internet and to empowering people with the ability to manage their personal information online. We realize that the industry’s ability to earn the trust of consumers is critical to allowing the Internet to fully develop as an educational and commercial medium,” said Bob Herbold, Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We will continue to work with industry partners, as well as policymakers, consumer groups and others, to build a constructive framework for consumer confidence.”
In light of our concern about people’s privacy and the need for strong information practices in the online world, Microsoft, over the past several years, has implemented a number of initiatives and activities to help address the issue of online privacy protection. These include:
All Microsoft sites have privacy statements that are one-click away from their Home pages. These statements outline what personal information is collected, how it will be used, and how the user can opt out of any additional uses of their information. In many cases, no personal information is needed in order to use the site.
We have created a Personal Information Center on Microsoft.com, that allows customers to select what information they would like to receive, to have access to and edit their personal information whenever they would like, and to ensure that no unsolicited emails are sent. (http://register.microsoft.com/regwiz/include/security.htm)
Microsoft has actively participated in efforts by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to design the software specification for the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) – a tool to enable user control of personal information through interaction between the user’s browser and a web site’s stated information collection policies.
In keeping with our efforts to ensure that the Internet is a safe place for kids, Microsoft supports the work of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) in drafting guidelines to govern web sites targeted at children. For more information, please visit (http://www.bbb.org/advertising/carujoi.html)
Overall, Microsoft is committed to making the Internet a secure and compelling space and is eager to address user privacy concerns in order to enhance the online experience. We will continue working with other industry leaders and partners to evangelize the importance of privacy within the private sector.