“The Privacy Partnership” to Educate Internet Community about Online Privacy

NEW YORK, October 7, 1998 — Microsoft, along with TRUSTe and seven other leading Internet companies, announced the launch of a major Internet privacy initiative at a noon press conference on Wednesday at Fall Internet World . Called “The Privacy Partnership,” the initiative includes a major online educational campaign to raise consumer awareness about the importance of personal privacy on the Internet. Using an online advertising blitz during the month of October, the coalition also hopes to urge others throughout the Web community to join in the effort to promote a common understanding of fair information gathering and dissemination.

Other participants in The Privacy Partnership include America Online Inc., Excite Inc., Infoseek Corp., Lycos Inc., Yahoo! Inc., Snap Online! and Netscape Communications Corp. The coalition is headed by TRUSTe, an independent, nonprofit organization founded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and CommerceNet Consortium, that is dedicated to building consumer trust in online transactions. Representing one of the largest advertising campaigns in history, the participating companies each will contribute resources for online advertising. Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN, announced that MSN will donate 20 million banner impressions to the Privacy Partnership.

TRUSTe also maintains a privacy seal program, which allows licensees to display a Web site logo that assures customers the site adheres to TRUSTe’s principles of fair information practices and enforcement. Microsoft became a licensee in June 1998 and will undergo periodic audits to ensure its privacy practices are in keeping with TRUSTe privacy policies.

Microsoft is also a member of the Online Privacy Alliance, a cross-industry coalition committed to protecting the privacy of individuals on the Internet. Microsoft’s recent purchase of privacy technology leader Firefly Network Inc. further reinforces the company’s strong commitment to protecting personal privacy online.

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