Key Microsoft Web Sites Earn TRUSTe’s Approval For Online Privacy Seal

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 16, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the, MSN
Hotmail, MSBET Web and newly acquired LinkExchange sites have been awarded the TRUSTe seal. The seal signifies TRUSTe’s guarantee that the Web site’s privacy policy meets TRUSTe’s rigorous standards for the ethical collection and use of people’s personal information. These sites join all the properties within the MSN network of Internet services, which have already met with TRUSTe’s approval.

Guided by the principles of disclosure and informed consent, the TRUSTe privacy program provides Web publishers with a standardized program, backed by TRUSTe’s third-party oversight and consumer resolution process. The program calls for Web publishers to inform visitors of how their sites gather and use information, allow visitors to opt out of uses unrelated to the purpose for which the information was given, and enable them to correct or edit their own information.

“Microsoft’s Web sites reach millions of people – Hotmail alone has 30 million members, has 18 million and LinkExchange has 800,000 member Web sites. We want to demonstrate to the Web community at large that we take the protection of our customers’ information very seriously,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN.
“Our sites have always had strict privacy policies in place, and the TRUSTe seal is an important validation of that. This endorsement by a respected third party gives our customers the added assurance that we will honor the trust they have placed in us, so that they can freely enjoy our Web sites.”

All Microsoft® online sites have privacy statements one click away from their front-page screens. These statements outline what personal information is collected, how it will be used, and how people can refuse or permit any additional uses of their information. In most cases, no personal information is necessary to view Microsoft Web sites.’s Personal Information Center ( ) allows customers to choose the information they would like to receive, view and edit their personal information whenever they choose, and ensure that no unsolicited e-mail messages are sent to them.

“Each of Microsoft’s Web sites must separately undergo TRUSTe’s stringent review process and meet our approval to display the seal on the site,”
said Susan Scott, executive director of TRUSTe.
“Microsoft has actively participated in TRUSTe’s privacy program on all fronts, and we applaud the company’s commitment to give its customers the strongest reassurances possible that their information is in safe hands.”

Following are additional efforts Microsoft has made to protect personal privacy online:

  • In early December, Microsoft joined the board of directors of BBBOnLine as a sponsoring business. BBBOnLine, a subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), recently announced a new privacy program aimed at helping consumers safeguard their personal information on the Internet.

  • The privacy policy of MSN received TRUSTe’s approval in October. This encompasses all the services within the MSN network, which include the CarPoint
    online automotive service, the Computing Central
    computer user’s information service, the Expedia
    travel service, MSN Gaming Zone, Holidays, the HomeAdvisor
    online real estate service, the MoneyCentral
    ™personal finance online service, MSN Insider, MSNBC News, MSNBC Sports, the Sidewalk online guide, Shopping, Small Business, Web Communities, Web Events and Women.

  • In October, Microsoft teamed up with TRUSTe and seven other portal companies – America Online Inc., Excite Inc., Infoseek Corp., Lycos Inc., Netscape Communications Corp., Snap Online! and Yahoo! Inc. – to launch the Privacy

Partnership, a monthlong online banner ad campaign designed to raise awareness of privacy issues and educate consumers about protecting their personal privacy on the Web. The Partnership’s goal was to place the banners and messages on as many Web sites as possible to achieve a prevailing privacy consciousness across the Internet. The campaign resulted in at least half a million hits to the Privacy Partnership Web site and double the amount of traffic to TRUSTe’s Web site for the duration of the campaign. In addition, nearly 450 Web publishers have since joined the campaign.

  • 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: It was instrumental in developing the initial TRUSTe program and the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P). The acquisition benefits consumers worldwide by enhancing Microsoft’s ability to deliver more privacy-rich products and services on the Internet.

  • Microsoft has actively participated in efforts by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to design the software specification for the 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. In addition, the company has its own Web site, , that offers parents, teachers and children valuable information and links to some of the best sites online for staying safe while enjoying the Web.

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, MSN, CarPoint, Computing Central, Expedia, HomeAdvisor, MoneyCentral and Sidewalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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