TrustArc Blog

TRUSTe submits FTC comments AND updates its Program Requirements

February 22, 2011

By Fran Maier

On Friday, TRUSTe submitted comments on the FTC’s privacy report, outlining our views on privacy policies, the need for accountability, the importance of context in privacy, and other salient privacy issues. Last month we submitted comments to the Department of Commerce as well, regarding their privacy report). Our comments to the FTC cited a number of research findings, including results from user testing of icon-based privacy notices, as well as consumer insights gained from our TRUSTed Ads program.

Additionally, today we issued an update to our Privacy Program Requirements, which forms the policy foundation on which we certify the privacy practices of our clients. We find these updated requirements to be generally in alignment with FTC guidelines as well as evolving industry standards and best practices. We undertook this update both to help our sealholders meet evolving business and compliance needs and to ensure that consumers can continue to expect greater transparency, accountability and choice from the companies we certify.

These recent accomplishments reflect TRUSTe’s momentum in addressing a wider range of privacy issues with solutions (like Mobile App Certification and TRUSTed Ads) that go far beyond privacy policy certification. Since TRUSTe made the structural change just over two and a half years ago from non-profit industry association to private, for-profit company, we’ve invested heavily in product development, engineering, sales and marketing talent. We’ve also introduced new technological approaches to delivering accurate privacy policies for small businesses, scanning websites for third party data collection, certifying web and mobile applications, and delivering notice and choice around behavioral advertising. Many of TRUSTe’s newer hires have come from the security world and they have expressed surprise at how privacy is more nuanced, contextual and, frankly, more difficult to execute than security.

I’d like to thank the entire team for their work on these two initiatives, particularly John Tomaszewski, General Counsel, Kevin Trilli, VP of Product Management, Joanne Furtsch, Product Architect, Simona Nass, Director of Compliance, as well as Stephanie Curtis Clark, John Gamble, Jim Rennie, and Mary Anne Timothy. Our certification team, led by Bo Wilson, VP Operations, and assisted by Heidi Berger, Director, are ready to start certifying clients to our updated requirements. Thanks also to the many clients and others who provided detailed and thoughtful feedback during our Program Requirements update initiative.

If you are a current TRUSTe client you will be getting an email and letter highlighting the changes and the implementation process, and our team stands ready to work with you.

Lastly, look for additional blog posts in the coming weeks on selected topics we addressed in our FTC comments.