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TRUSTe is an independent, privately held organization best known for its Web Privacy Seal. TRUSTe runs the world’s largest privacy seal program, with more than 2,000 Web sites certified, including the major internet portals and leading brands such as IBM, Oracle Corporation, Intuit and eBay. TRUSTe states its purpose is to establish trusting relationships between individuals and online organizations based on respect for personal identity and information in the evolving networked world.
But Yahoo's recent announcement of sweeping changes in the way it will use customer data collected under previous policies has many calling Truste's seal as meaningless as an Andersen audit.
Even Esther Dyson, the high-profile technologist who played a major role in Truste's launch five years ago, says she is "disappointed in what ended up becoming of it."
By its own account, Truste was conceived at Dyson's industry-leading PC Forum conference in 1996. Dyson credits others with the concept, but she pushed both publicly and privately for the establishment of the nonprofit company and adoption of its "trustmark," which certifies that online companies comply with their own stated privacy policies.
Truste makes no attempt to set privacy policies. It merely ensures that companies clearly state their own rules for handling customer data, and then adhere to them.
Is the best way to protect the public good to go private?
That is the view of Truste, a 10-year-old nonprofit organization that certifies that Web sites meet some minimum standards to protect the privacy of their users. The group is converting to for-profit status and selling the bulk of its newly created stock to Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that backed eBay and Facebook.
The amount of Accel’s investment was not disclosed, but people involved in the transaction said it is around $10 million.
In many ways, Truste has already been run like a business. Most of its $6 million in annual revenue comes from charging site owners for the right to display the Truste seal. This has long raised questions about whether the organization is appropriately tough on the companies it certifies.
For example, it does not always tell the public if it discovers violations of its principles, even if the violations are so egregious that it kicks a site out of its program.
To this day, Coupons.com is in breach of TRUSTe's rules, and TRUSTe knows it. Yet Coupons.com remains listed on TRUSTe's whitelist as if its practices are beyond reproach and as if the company is in good standing vis-a-vis TRUSTe's rules. That's outrageous, and users should demand better.
Sponsors of the TRUSTe® program recognize the vital importance of customer trust to their businesses. Sponsors provide critical support for the development of new programs such as wireless, email, and other privacy initiatives. Some of our valued sponsors include:
Benefits of sponsorship include:
• Seat on an advisory panel or initiative
• Joint press release announcing our joint commitment to privacy advocacy
• Company logo displayed throughout TRUSTe Web site and all appropriate marketing collateral
• Rotating sponsorship of one of TRUSTe's newsletters
• Marketing exposure at key industry events
• ...and much more!
MAXAMINE satisfies the diverse and dynamic requirements across the enterprise with a single, coherent and fully integrated solution. With MAXAMINE, you can ensure the quality of search engine implementations, compliance with privacy, accessibility, usability, link integrity; screen for offensive content and inappropriate links; verify traffic and advertising tags, and analyze your site using custom search criteria, and quality standards, alerting, and issue management capabilities.
MAXAMINE serves leading commercial and government clients around the world, including AOL, EDS, Intuit, KPMG, WebMD, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Wal-Mart, Legal & General, and Cadbury, as well as the U.S. State Department, Treasury Department, Department of Homeland Security, GSA, FAA, EPA, FDIC, IRS, the Victorian Government of Australia and many more.
Maxamine, a privately held company founded in 1997, provides testing and optimization services to help companies improve the marketing effectiveness and financial returns from their websites and other digital marketing investments. Maxamine’s services include evaluating websites to identify implementation problems that undermine online marketing performance, as well as providing guidance to help clients improve the optimization of their websites, enhance the customer experience and decrease privacy-related and other risks.
Stephen Kirkby, Ph.D., a founder of Maxamine, said, “We’re very pleased with the opportunities that this acquisition affords the talented people of Maxamine and the greater breadth of online marketing services that the companies with which we’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years will have available to them now via Accenture.”
The closing of the Maxamine acquisition follows Accenture’s recent acquisition of Memetrics, which helps companies improve the impact of their online marketing campaigns by identifying which content will deliver the best results for targeted customer sets.
Maxamine Web Analyst Professional is a complete web site management solution that can scan any publicly accessible site, visualize site structure, and perform a complete site analysis and intuitive mapping of traffic log file activity. This product will enable small and medium enterprises to conduct extensive analysis of their Web sites and those of their competitors.Maxamine Web Analyst is much more than just a link checker or log analyzer – it offers comprehensive navigation structure visualization and site reports, site search and complete traffic analysis (traffic reports and visualization on web maps). At a glance, you will see most popular pages and major traffic corridors in your site, as well as problem areas such as slow site navigation, broken links, non-returning and hard-to-reach pages, and much more.This product is ideal for scanning web sites up to 500 pages in size, which makes it an invaluable tool for small and medium enterprises, consultants, Web integrators and ISPs.
Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) is an American software company that develops financial and tax preparation software
Hoping to win back alienated customers, personal software maker Intuit (NSDQ:INTU) Inc. is formally apologizing to users of its popular TurboTax program who rebelled against an anti-piracy feature the company introduced last year.
"I've talked one-on-one with quite a few customers, so I know this caused some of you considerable hassle and inconvenience," TurboTax general manager Tom Allanson wrote in an open letter of apology.
Mountain View-based Intuit plans to publish the letter as an advertisement in Thursday's editions of USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. The letter also will be posted on several Web sites.
Intuit is seeking forgiveness as it prepares to sell the 2003 edition of TurboTax , a program that generated $423 million, or 26 percent, of the company's revenue in its last fiscal year.
The unusual step serves as another reminder of the aggravation Intuit caused with the anti-piracy measure, known as "product activation," which was designed to prevent buyers from giving the tax program to people who hadn't paid to use it.
Intuit hoped to boost TurboTax sales with an activation code that chained the program to a single computer. The company instead faced an angry backlash from customers who abhorred the restrictions and feared product activation might allow Intuit to spy on their computer hard drives.
As you will see on the page below, if you use the RealNetworks RealDownload, Netscape/AOL Smart Download, or NetZip Download Demon utilities in their default configuration . . .
EVERY TIME you use one of these utilities to download ANY FILE from ANYWHERE on the Internet, the complete "URL address" of the file, along with a UNIQUE ID TAG that has been assigned to YOUR machine, and — in the case of Netscape's SmartDownload only — YOUR computer's individual Internet IP address, is immediately transmitted to the program's publisher.
This allows a database of your entire, personal, file download history to be assembled and uniquely associated with your individual computer . . . for whatever purpose the program's publishers may have today, or tomorrow.
A game distributed with new versions of AOL Instant Messenger does not respect users' privacy, critics say.
AOL began offering games along with the latest version of its instant messenger, and now some customers are worried that the company is playing with them, too.
People who use AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) have started complaining on AOL message boards after software bundled with AIM 5.5 began showing up in "spyware" scans. The popular chat application includes games from WildTangent, which has a tool that reports back to the company every time someone uses its products.
On the eve of a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on the privacy issues raised by online advertising, yet another cable company has pulled back from using NebuAd to track its customers. Wide Open West, a Denver-based cable provider that's been using the NebuAd since March, is ending its test of the controversial software.
Tomorrow's hearing on the Hill will give critics, who say the software and others like it violate wiretap laws because it allows carriers to track customers' communications, an opportunity to publicly air their grievances.
Cable companies and telcos say they need software like NebuAd-and it's British comrade-in-arms, Phorm-to help them develop targeted advertising for subgroups of Internet and television service users. The ad dollars, they say, are critical to their growth. Check out this Wall Street Journal story for a different look at the controversy.
In the past few weeks, phone operator CenturyTel Inc. and cable provider Charter Communications Inc. shelved plans to use ad-targeting technology from Silicon Valley start-up NebuAd due to privacy concerns raised by their customers and lawmakers.
Last week, another cable company, Denver-based Wide Open West, pulled the plug on NebuAd's software, which it had used since March to track its customers on the Web and subdivide them by their ...
Apart from procedural difficulties in filing a complaint against a website, TRUSTe has not removed a seal once in more than three years for privacy violation (Hunter, 2000). There have been orders to remove the seal for those who have not renewed payment of fees. An email from the author querying how many members it had and how many have had their seals revoked was not answered.
TRUSTe's difficulties have been highlighted in the case of Real Audio and AOL. In AOL's case, a complaint was filed about the company passing information to third parties. AOL's answer was that the TRUSTe seal applied only to the www.aol.com... site, not the members.aol.com site (Hunter, 2000).
In the case of Real Audio, the company's software, RealJukebox, surreptitiously monitored and collected data about the listening habits and some other activities of its users (Robinson, 1999). The company apologized but was never punished by TRUSTe because this activity was not covered by the terms of the TRUSTe seal.
There were few differences in the privacy practices between seal authorities: TRUSTe and BBBOnLine participants offered about the same degree of privacy protection assurances and they were equal with regard to the amount or depth of personal information they requested. Notably, unsealed sites offered nearly equal privacy assurances and made fewer personal information requests than the sealed sites. However, seal program participants did provide superior access to information and assurances of data security.
TRUSTe, an organization that certifies websites for having good privacy practices, is turning into a for-profit enterprise, and has taken an unspecified investment from VC firm Accel. Saul Hansell at Bits cites sources putting the funding at $10 million. You’ve probably seen their seal of approval on some of the 2,400 sites they monitor. Like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, it’s supposed to convey a sense of, well, trust, to users, by showing certification from a third party. With the investment, the company plans to expand and being targeting emerging areas, like social networking and location-based services, each of which brings a whole host of privacy issues that are still just getting unpacked.
In response to increasing threats to consumer privacy, TRUSTe, the recognized authority on privacy best practices on the Internet today, announced the completion of its first round of financing from Accel Partners, a leading Silicon Valley venture firm. The investment will enable TRUSTe to create state-of-the-art monitoring systems to stay ahead of technology advances with new tools, products and best practices that facilitate trust between businesses and consumers.
“The Board of Directors is extremely pleased that Accel Partners has stepped forward to fuel TRUSTe’s future growth,” said Ralph Terkowitz, Chairman of the Board of TRUSTe. “We believe that Accel Partners, one of the most respected investors in venture capital, will serve as a perfect partner to guide and energize the success of TRUSTe as it expands to address new privacy frontiers.”
The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the CIA in 1999. One of the company's key areas of expertise is in "data mining technologies".
Some in the industry think wireless carriers are being too skittish. Richard Wong, a partner at venture-capital firm Accel Partners, says "operators are sometimes too careful around this issue and are stifling innovation to some degree." He says the industry isn't taking into account that younger consumers have a much more relaxed view about what constitutes an invasion of privacy than their parents.
The Justice Department has joined three whistleblower lawsuits targeting Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and consulting giant Accenture, all of which prosecutors say defrauded the government of millions of dollars through kickbacks and rebates on massive government IT projects, according to an announcement Thursday.
The suits center on Accenture, which the government hired to help it evaluate new technology and make sure the government got the right equipment at a fair price. But the government charges that instead Accenture made $4 million cash in kickbacks from companies who landed contracts with the government through Accenture's recommendations.
Data mining is the process of sorting through large amounts of data and picking out relevant information. It is usually used by business intelligence organizations, and financial analysts, but is increasingly being used in the sciences to extract information from the enormous data sets generated by modern experimental and observational methods
There are also privacy and human rights concerns associated with data mining, specifically regarding the source of the data analyzed. Data mining provides information that may be difficult to obtain otherwise. When the data collected involves individual people, there are many questions concerning privacy, legality, and ethics. In particular, data mining government or commercial data sets for national security or law enforcement purposes, such as in the Total Information Awareness Program, has raised privacy concerns
The media was drawn to a small corporation in Washington, DC that had just unveiled its existence and the hiring of its first CEO, Gilman Louie. Mr. Louie described the Corporation, called In-Q-It, as having been formed "...to ensure that the CIA remains at the cutting edge of information technology advances and capabilities."
5 quick facts about James Breyer:
Breyer is a Managing Partner of Accel Partners, a venture capital firm... Source: Mr James Breyer Profile - Forbes.com [www.forbes.com]
Breyer was a man who served on NVCA's board with Gilman Louie, the CEO of In-Q-Tel... Source: currybear.com... [currybear.com]
James Breyer has been a Director of RealNetworks since October 1995... Source: sec.edgar-online.com... [sec.edgar-online.com]
Breyer has served as a General Partner of Accel Partners in Palo Alto, California since 1990... Source: RealNetworks, Inc. > Board of Directors [www.realnetworks.com]
Breyer is an officer, 4321916 shares owned by... Source: REALNETWORKS INC [www.shareholder.com]
Mr. Louie said today that the purpose of the new company would be to move information technology to the agency more quickly than traditional Government procurement processes allow. The agency, he said, was struggling with many of the same aspects of the Internet that are vexing to other Web surfers, including privacy and security.
''The current model isn't working,'' Mr. Louie said. ''The technology world has totally changed, and one day the C.I.A. woke up and realized they needed to go through the same change.''
The new company will supply venture capital in some cases, and in others it will hire contractors or partner with entrepreneurs in four areas: integrating Internet technology and applications into the C.I.A.'s work; developing new security and privacy technologies; nurturing data mining technologies to take better advantage of the agency's vast storehouses of records, and modernizing the agency's computer systems.
Mr. Louie said that none of In-Q-It's work would be classified and that the organization would not be limited to the four areas he outlined.
''There are a number of models on which the jury is still out,'' said James Breyer, managing partner of Accel Partners, a venture firm in Palo Alto, Calif.
Companies like Lucent Technologies and the AT&T Corporation have become venture investors in the valley in recent years, he noted, and SRI Research International had less success in trying to spin out its research projects with an internal venture arm.
''The most important aspect is to have an outstanding outside management effort overseeing the process,'' he said. ''It appears in this effort the C.I.A. has chosen well.''
Jim is currently on the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (WMT), where he is the Lead/Presiding Independent Director, and Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee. He also serves on the board of Marvel Entertainment (MVL) where he is the founding Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee. Jim is currently an Investor/Board Member of privately held companies BBN Technologies, Brightcove, Etsy, Facebook, Global Grind Digital, ModelN, and Prosper.com.
Jim is on the Strategic Investment Committee/Board of Accel-KKR, IDG-Accel China Fund, the Mail Room Fund (a joint venture with entertainment leader William Morris Agency), and Facebook Seed Fund.
BBN provides advanced solutions to a wide variety of government agencies and commercial customers including DARPA, Army Research Labs, Boeing, and Verizon Communications to name a few. BBN is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company is lead by CEO Robert G. (Tad) Elmer, and was awarded the IEEE Technical Innovation award for its contributions to computer networking in 1999. In-Q-Tel initially invested in BBN Technologies in March, 2004.
The Information Awareness Office (IAO) was established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense, in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying information technology to counter transnational threats to national security. The IAO mission was to "imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness". Following public criticism that the development and deployment of these technologies could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003, although several of the projects run under IAO have continued under different funding.
The CIA had to offer Silicon Valley something of value, a business model that the Valley understood; a model that provides those who joined hands with In-Q-Tel the opportunity to commercialize their innovations. In addition, In-Q-Tel’s partner companies would also gain another valuable asset, access to a set of very difficult CIA problems that could become market drivers.
To accomplish this, the Corporation will network extensively with those in industry, the venture capital community, academia, and any others who are at the forefront of IT innovation. Through the business relationships that it establishes, In-Q-Tel will create environments for collaboration, product demonstration, prototyping, and evaluation. From these activities will flow the IT solutions that the Agency seeks and, most importantly, the commercial opportunities for product development by its partners.
As an example, it can effect the full range of business transactions common to the industry -- it is venture enabled, can establish joint ventures, fund grants, sponsor open competitions, award sole source contracts, etc. And, because of the many degrees of freedom granted to it by the Agency, In-Q-Tel does not require Agency approval for the business deals it negotiates
While In-Q-It will operate on a nonprofit basis, Mr. Louie said his intention was to invest in such a way as to make the organization self-sustaining.
Partner, Greylock Venture Capital; former Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA); served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
BBN Technologies (BBN) is an advanced technology and research and development firm, providing services to government and industry. BBN is focused on solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. From information and infrastructure security, speech and language technologies, sensor and signal processing, to networking, BBN has been at the forefront of technological advances for over 50 years.
Founded in 1948, the name BBN’s name has become synonymous with technical innovation. Since providing the acoustical design of the UN General Assembly Hall, to implementing and operating the ARPANET, the forerunner of today’s Internet, BBN continues to pioneer first-of-a-kind technical achievements. From the first packet switch, the first router, and the first network email, which established the @ sign as an icon for the digital age, to today’s innovations such as building the world’s first wide-area quantum cryptography network, and advanced processing of foreign language, BBN scientists and engineers are pioneering innovations to help our customers work better and smarter.
BBN provides advanced solutions to a wide variety of government agencies and commercial customers including DARPA, Army Research Labs, Boeing, and Verizon Communications to name a few. BBN is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company is lead by CEO Robert G. (Tad) Elmer, and was awarded the IEEE Technical Innovation award for its contributions to computer networking in 1999. In-Q-Tel initially invested in BBN Technologies in March, 2004. For more information about BBN, please visit www.bbn.com....
For almost 20 years, Heather Triplett Biehl has been an expert on bad guys. As an authority on counterterrorism, a former Middle East analyst for the CIA and a defense industry executive, she has briefed presidents, jumped out of helicopters and pitched technology to the country’s top intelligence agencies.
Biehl’s occasionally covert career continues with her latest post as the vice president of the flagship intelligence programs office at Cambridge-based BBN Technologies Inc.
Originally posted by Phatcat
Isn't Truste the firm that certifies internet security for AboveTopSecret.com ?