E-Business: Automate Internet Privacy Practices

Article excerpt

IBM has decided to release free software that will allow companies to automate their Internet privacy practices.

In a separate development, AT&T Corporation has also confirmed it has free software to alert web surfers to different privacy settings on web sites.

The announcements come at a time when US government and industry moves to provide consumers greater protection of their personal information on the Internet have been rolled back in the light of concerns over terrorism and national security.

'Privacy practices and policies in corporate America have been steadily getting worse over the last couple of years,' said Jason Catlett, president of Junkbusters, an independent privacy advocacy and consulting firm.

Just a few weeks ago Yahoo followed in the steps of eBay and Amazon.com in changing its privacy policies to allow for greater use of the data, Mr Catlett said.

Now Yahoo has can more easily send spam e-mail and make telemarketing calls, while forcing customers to manually change their privacy preferences if they don't want that, he claimed.

However, legal actions seem to be prompting somewhat better behaviour.

To settle federal and state class action lawsuits, Internet advertiser DoubleClick last month agreed to adhere to an enhanced privacy policy, as well as pay $1. …