Brother, can you spare some privacy?

Friday, 7 February 2003, 1:03 PM EST

TRUSTe is an organization composed of online privacy advocates and companies, including AOL Time Warner, Intuit and Microsoft. Its global privacy certification program allows companies that are in accordance with the group's consumer protection policies to display the TRUSTe seal.

However, although the new requirements are an improvement on previous certification guidelines, Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center , counters that TRUSTe and its member companies are really just playing catch-up to recent Federal Trade Commission rulings.

Recently, the FTC has taken action against Microsoft for misrepresenting aspects of its Passport service, Eli Lilly for lax security practices that compromised consumer data, and American Student List for improperly selling information collected from high school students. According to Hoofnagle, all those motions have raised the bar on consumer online privacy protections.

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