Microsoft Continues Commitment to Online Privacy

REDMOND, WA, June 22, 1998 — Continuing its commitment to put people in control of their personal information on the Internet, Microsoft Corp. today announced it has joined with nearly 50 U.S. companies and industry associations to create the Online Privacy Alliance, a cross-industry coalition committed to protecting the privacy of individuals on the Internet.

Microsoft Joins Online Privacy Alliance

The goals of the Alliance are to identify and advance fair privacy protection measures across the private sector; support and foster the development and use of self-regulatory enforcement mechanisms and activities, as well as technology and standards that help protect privacy; and, support compliance with and strong enforcement of applicable laws and regulations. The Alliance and its members also plan to support policies that protect the privacy of children and promote broad awareness of, and participation in, Alliance initiatives by businesses, non-profit organizations, consumers and others.

“As evidenced by today’s actions, Microsoft is committed to building consumer trust on the Internet and to empowering people with the ability to manage their personal information online,”
said Bob Herbold, Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“We are confident that by working with this broad range of leading companies and organizations, such as AOL, AT & T, IBM, DMA, Time Warner, American Express, Procter and Gamble, Viacom and others, we are creating a strong and effective framework for self-regulation, which will help ensure a safe and secure Internet environment for people of all ages.”

Microsoft Joins TRUSTe

Microsoft also announced its membership in TRUSTe, a non-profit, global privacy initiative dedicated to building trust and confidence in online transactions. Guided by the principles of disclosure and informed consent, the TRUSTe program provides Web publishers with a standardized, cost-effective program, backed by TRUSTe’s third-party oversight process allowing Web publishers to inform visitors of how their sites gather and use information.

“Microsoft has built its business on giving power to its customers as individuals, and the support and use of TRUSTe is just one more way to do so. I hope the company’s example encourages many others to follow suit,”
said Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings, Inc. and TRUSTe advisor.

“We think the Web is a wonderful new medium for people to communicate, conduct business, and have fun. TRUSTe is universally recognized as a pioneer in designing the framework to establish consumers’ trust in the Internet as a safe and secure environment,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president for the Microsoft Network.
“We look forward to working closely with TRUSTe and continuing our efforts to help ensure people have the necessary control over their personal information in order to fully benefit from all the possibilities the Web has to offer.”

The goal of TRUSTe is to assure people that sites are indeed doing what they claim, through periodic site reviews and consumer recourse mechanisms. Sites that have successfully met TRUSTe guidelines are able to display a “trustmark” symbol to inform users of their participation in the program.

“We are delighted that Microsoft is joining our efforts to establish greater consumer trust on the Web,”
said Susan Scott, executive director of TRUSTe.
“This is yet another step forward in Microsoft’s commitment to empowering users and helping foster a climate of confidence and security online.”

Department Of Commerce Online Privacy Conference Activities

Microsoft also said it would be actively participating in this week’s activities surrounding the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Online Privacy conference. This two-day event in Washington D.C. is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, and Wednesday, June 24. Microsoft is planning to participate on two panel discussions that will address such issues as: What personal information is available and to whom, and what are the implications? What law, regulation, self-regulation, or technology is available to protect that information? How do technologies fit into the overall framework for a viable commercial marketplace for privacy?

Microsoft-specific Practices & Activities

In light of its 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:

  • Microsoft online sites have privacy statements that are one click away from their front-page screens. 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 most cases, no personal information is needed in order to view the site.

  • Microsoft has created a Personal Information Center on, which allows customers to select the information they would like to receive, to have access to and edit their personal information whenever they choose, and to ensure no unsolicited emails are sent.

  • 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.

  • To help 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.

  • Last April, Microsoft acquired Firefly Network Inc., a leading provider of technology that makes possible the trusted exchange of personal information on the Internet. Firefly has been a pioneer in developing privacy practices and technologies for the Web, including being instrumental in the development of the initial TRUSTe program and P3P. The acquisition benefits consumers worldwide by enhancing the company’s ability to deliver more privacy-rich products and services on the Internet.

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. Microsoft will continue working with other industry leaders to evangelize the importance of privacy within the private sector.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Other products and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to Editors: Additional information about Microsoft’s privacy protection policies can be found at

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