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Privacy software approved and ready to go

Privacy software approved and ready to go

Software that instantly discloses websites' privacy policies to internet users has been approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The system, called Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), allows web surfers to decide what information they are prepared to divulge and compares that to each site's policies. The Information Commissioner may promote the disclosure technology in the UK if websites show interest in the scheme. A spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office, said: "As an organisation we would always promote these kinds of technological developments that make it easier for individuals to see what a site's policy on privacy is." He added: "The user can then make an informed choice as to whether to go ahead or leave the site." Rather than have to go through thousands of privacy policies, P3P reads electronic tags connected to websites that contain each site's privacy information. If a particular site intends to use the surfer's data in ways that the individual has not agreed to, he or she is immediately alerted. However, websites have to install the software themselves and the project's success will depend on how many sites agree to use P3P. The US-based Internet Education Foundation said more than 40 of the top 100 US websites have already implemented, or plan to implement, P3P. Microsoft has a limited version of P3P already built into Internet Explorer 6 and AT&T is distributing a more advanced, downloadable version. See http://www.w3c.org for more information.