FRAMINGHAM (04/05/2000) - A new organization that plans to set ethical standards for the development of Internet personalization technology announced its formation today at the Spring Internet World conference in Los Angeles.
The Wakefield, Massachusetts-based Personalization Consortium was founded by 26 companies that represent a mix of established and start-up businesses, ranging from American Airlines Inc. and KPMG Consulting to DoubleClick Inc. and E.piphany Inc. The membership has grown to more than 100, said Larry Ponemon, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and a member of the Federal Trade Commission's Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security.
The objective of the consortium is to promote responsible use of rapidly developing personalization technology. Just as biomedical technology and research are regulated by ethical standards, information technology development shouldn't be allowed to outstrip consumer privacy, according to Ponemon.
"The consortium is dealing from the point of view of responsibility first," said Ponemon, who co-chairs the group's privacy committee.
The consortium's initial guidelines for personalization technology include providing consumers access to their personal information, "responsible" linking of online and off-line information, and criteria for opting in or out.
In announcing the consortium, the group also released the results of its first study on Internet privacy. In a survey of 4,500 Web users, the consortium found that only 15 percent of netizens would be unwilling to share personal information if that information improved their online service.