E-commerce CEOs urge peers to treat privacy concerns seriously

The CEOs at Amazon.com, eBay, America Online and Lycos sent out a letter to more than 400 of their colleagues, urging e-commerce companies to take the need to protect consumer privacy more seriously.

Sent out under the umbrella of the NetCoalition, a Washington-based advocacy group formed by 10 Internet companies, the letter put out a call for online businesses to regulate themselves.

"We believe that a key aspect of consumer confidence on the Internet is making sure consumers understand when and how their personal information is being used as they engage in e-commerce and other online activities," said the letter, which was posted on the NetCoalition Web site.

"In this vein, we must - as industry leaders - take the initiative in ensuring that Internet companies establish and promote the adoption and implementation of rigorous voluntary privacy practices," the letter continued.

The NetCoalition group's letter comes as the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing a report to Congress concerning consumer privacy practices on the Internet.

That report will show that only 20 per cent of the hundreds of companies surveyed by the FTC posted a privacy policy on their sites, and will recommend Congress issues rules to regulate such policies.

The NetCoalition letter asked companies to take action in the following ways:

* Give notice about practices regarding the collection and use of personally identifiable information; * Provide consumers with the choice of controlling such collection and use; * Supply contact information for consumers with questions about privacy; * Allow access to ensure the accuracy of information provided; * Maintain the proper security to protect the integrity of that information.

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More about Amazon.comAmerica OnlineeBayFederal Trade CommissionFTCLycosNetCoalitionUS Federal Trade Commission

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