Microsoft Announces Privacy Enhancements for Windows, Internet Explorer

NEW YORK, June 21, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at the World Wide Web Consortium’s Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Interoperability Session that its next version of Microsoft® Windows® will be the first operating system to include privacy-enabling technologies based on the P3P specification. During the event, Microsoft tested the compatibility of its new privacy solutions, designed for both consumers and Web-site operators, with other industry solutions. Microsoft support for P3P is expected to be available next year with the next major version of Windows, code-named
which will include Microsoft Internet Explorer browser software.

P3P provides a standard and automated way to compare consumers’ privacy preferences with the privacy practices of the Web sites they visit, providing them with more control over their personal information on the Internet. In the past several years, Microsoft has been working with various companies, government officials and privacy advocacy groups to determine the best approach to implementing P3P-based solutions, and the company is working closely with the W3C to help finalize the P3P specification.

“As the Internet becomes more and more a part of daily life, we realize it is critical that consumers have the ability to manage and control their personal information online,”
said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft president and CEO.
“Our commitment to protecting consumer privacy through technologies based on P3P and other efforts stems from Microsoft’s longstanding focus on building technology that empowers the individual.”

Microsoft demonstrated three technologies at the Interoperability Session:

  • Privacy Statement Generator. This easy-to-use software asks Web-site operators a series of questions about their privacy policies and automatically generates a P3P-compliant statement expressed in Extensible Markup Language (XML). The resulting statement can be posted to any Web site and interpreted by any P3P-compatible client software. This tool builds on Microsoft’s existing Privacy Wizard ( ), which has already assisted more than 17,000 Web sites in creating privacy statements based on the Fair Information Principles. The Privacy Statement Generator is scheduled to be publicly available later this year.

  • P3P support for Internet Explorer. This implementation of P3P enables Internet Explorer to compare a consumer’s stated privacy preferences to what a Web site’s privacy statement shares about the site’s practices. Future versions will be built into the Internet Explorer software in
    so that consumers can determine the level of interaction they want to have with a particular Web site.

  • P3P-compatible Microsoft Privacy Statement. This privacy statement, expressed in XML, allows Microsoft’s existing privacy statement to be read by Microsoft’s Browser Helper Object or any other P3P-compatible browser or tool. It will be available at .

“We commend the W3C, AT & T and the other participating organizations with whom we’ve worked on the P3P specification to provide consumers with greater privacy online,”
said Richard Purcell, director of corporate privacy at Microsoft.
“The P3P effort is a great example of how the industry, working alongside the many organizations that have a vested interest in privacy, can work toward developing technology-based solutions that are based on the Fair Information Principles.”

Microsoft and Privacy

Microsoft has made online privacy a priority from both a technical and policy standpoint by working with privacy organizations and incorporating technology into many of its Internet products and services to enable the trusted exchange of private information online. Microsoft’s Kids Passport helps parents to protect their children’s privacy online by deciding whether children may use participating services that collect and/or disclose personal information. The company has also participated in programs such as GetNetWise and StaySafeOnline to educate a broad range of consumers, especially children, about effective ways to use the Internet safely and protect personal data online.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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