TRUST-E CALLS FOR STRICTER NOTIFICATION OF SALE OF CONSUMER LISTS

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(April 11, 2001) -- Trust-e is drafting a stronger measure that would require marketers who sell their businesses either through a deal or because of bankruptcy to notify consumers that their personal information gathered on the Web would be transferred to a new company.

Trust-e, one of the biggest of the seal programs that oversee marketers' compliance with stated online privacy policies, has been trying to deal with the issue after a list containing consumer information was put up for sale by banruptcy trustees for toysmart.com when that site went under. Trust-e today unveiled a draft of its policy online. at its site http://www.truste.org.

Under the proposed plan, consumers would only need to be notified by marketers if one company acquires a competing company in a similar line of business and both had Web sites with matching privacy policies. The requirements become much stricter when a company being sold had promised never to share information with a third party. Then, Trust-e said, consumers should be asked to opt in before any information could be transferred.

These days, most marketers give consumers the opportunity to opt out of having their information transferred to third parties. When Web sites with those kinds of policies are sold, Trust-e suggests buyers be required to notify customers of the change and given a chance to opt out of the transfer. Trust-e is asking for marketers to comment on its proposal. -- Ira Teinowitz

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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