Privacy measures fail to grab IT's attention

According to new research, a majority of US companies are lukewarm on two major pushes underway in the privacy community: membership in privacy consortiums and the adoption of a new standard called P3P.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Zona Research Inc. found that more than half of the companies polled recently said they had "no intention" of joining privacy consortiums.

Groups thought to be gaining in popularity and mentioned in the Zona report include the Online Privacy Alliance and the Direct Marketing Association.

But Zona said the lack of interest in privacy consortiums could now point to a feeling among companies that privacy issues should be handled in-house.

Corporations also may not see privacy as an "overarching, industrywide problem to be solved through industry initiatives," according to the Zona analysis.

Also low on corporate priority lists is P3P, or Platform for Privacy Preferences. Sixty-one percent of corporations polled by Zona indicated no interest in P3P.

Developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium, P3P lets Web sites crank out machine-readable versions of a company's data-collection and data-sharing practices.

But the lack of interest so far in P3P does not mean corporations are not busy incorporating privacy-related technology, Zona said.

An overwhelming majority of respondents -- 87 percent -- is deploying or plans to deploy encryption technology. Many are also using authentication and monitoring tools.

Aside from this pronounced work on security-related efforts, however, a much smaller number of companies are using audit controls and seals. And only 18 percent said they planned to use consultants to install or maintain privacy-related technology.

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