Privacy Advisor

Privacy News

April 1, 2007

IBM Develops Software to Safeguard Online Identity
IBM recently announced the development of software that allows people to hide or anonymize their personal information on the Web, ensuring protection from identity theft and other misuse. Developed by researchers at IBM's laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, the software - called Identity Mixer - will enable consumers to purchase goods and services on the Internet without disclosing personal information.

As consumers hand over personal details in exchange for downloading music or subscribing to online newsletters, they leave a data trail behind that reveals pieces of information about the size, frequency and source of their online purchases that can be traced back to users. The Identity Mixer software eliminates the trail by using artificial identity information, known as pseudonyms, to make online transactions anonymous.

According to its news release, IBM says it will contribute its Identity Mixer software to Eclipse Higgins project, an open source effort dedicated to developing software for "user-centric" identity management. The Identity Mixer software will provide the required added layer of privacy to the Project Higgins framework for true user-centric identity management.

Project Higgins was announced in February 2006 by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, IBM, Novell and Parity Communications.


TrustedID Offers Free Service to Check for ID Theft
TrustedID, a provider of identity management and protection solutions, recently announced that it is offering a free service that allows consumers to check a secure database to find out if their personal information has been stolen or compromised. The service, called StolenID Search, offers the ability to conduct a secure online search of a database containing more than 2 million pieces of compromised credit card and Social Security numbers.

The search results will return a simple "found" or "not found" response, alerting an individual to whether or not his or her search data matched data held by TrustedID. Individuals who receive notification of a match will be directed to additional resources to take appropriate next steps to protect themselves.
The search feature is available at www.stolenidsearch.com.


Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner Hank Moorlag Stepping Down
Hank Moorlag, Yukon's Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner, is stepping aside on April 8 after 10 years. Moorlag has devoted much of his tenure to pushing for change to the Access to Information and Protection Privacy Act.


TRUSTe Releases Initial Trusted Download Beta Program Whitelist
TRUSTe has unveiled its whitelist of software applications that have passed the certification process for TRUSTe's Trusted Download Program. These applications, at the version level, have been certified by TRUSTe to clearly communicate key functionalities, to obtain informed consumer consent prior to download, and provide an easy uninstall with clear instructions, among other requirements.

In order to be certified, all applicants have made changes to software behavior and/or disclosures. During the beta program, TRUSTe is testing and certifying software applications engaged in a variety of business models and distribution networks.

"The companies whose applications have passed the challenging certification process for the Trusted Download whitelist are all demonstrating a commitment to protecting consumer privacy," said Fran Maier, Executive Director and President of TRUSTe. "By completely informing users about the particulars of the downloads they offer up front, the participating companies are increasing transparency and giving control to users."

Program sponsors, AOL, CA, CNET Networks, Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo!, will use the whitelist as a tool to help make business decisions related to advertising, partnering and distributing software products. By providing a whitelist of trusted applications, the program aims to provide attractive market incentives to software publishers to meet the requirements and earn certification.

During the certification process, TRUSTe reviews notice and consent experience for consumers, and tests the operation and behavior of the software with testing partner AppLabs Technologies. AppLabs has worked with TRUSTe to develop a rigorous set of testing protocols to assess a broad range of application behavior. With the launch of the whitelist, TRUSTe will be conducting ongoing monitoring of the applications as they are encountered by users.

"The Trusted Download Program represents another important step toward making downloadable software more transparent," said Ari Schwartz, Deputy Director, Center for Democracy and Technology. "By assuring compliance with consumer protection standards, the Trusted Download Program will help companies make more informed decision about potential partners in this growing industry."


Sidebar:

The first eight downloadable applications that have been certified for the Trusted Download whitelist include:

Certified Standard Software:  

  • CamFrog Video Chat 3.81 from Camshare LLC
  • Coupon Bar 5.0 from Coupons, Inc.
  • Coupon Printer 3.3 from Coupons, Inc.
  • Crawler Toolbar 4.5.0 from Crawler LLC
  • Illumio 1.2.73 from Tacit Software, Inc.
  • MostFun 1.0 from NeoEdge

Advertising Software:

  • Save/SaveNow 4.0 from WhenU.com
  • Vomba 1.2.0.0 from Vomba Network Inc.