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ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF WEBTRUST PRIVACY PROGRAM TO HELP WEB SITES COMPLY WITH GLOBAL ONLINE PRIVACY LAWS

Source: AICPA

Posted on September 7, 2000

      The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the world's leading accounting firms announced the WebTrust Program for On-Line Privacy - a comprehensive e-business privacy tool that protects consumers and e-commerce users by enabling on-line businesses to continuously comply with, and verify adherence to, all key international privacy laws, regulations and standards. The WebTrust Program provides businesses with a built-in tool to respond to and help resolve customer concerns about privacy matters.

      Unlike privacy programs that only require companies to promise that they adhere to online privacy best practices, the WebTrust Program for On-line Privacy involves a consultative process that includes regular testing and verification of a site's policies, procedures, disclosures, technology and infrastructure to provide assurance that private information is being collected, maintained and distributed in a protected and secure manner.

      More than 200 leading accounting firms, including Arthur Andersen, LLP, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Ernst & Young, LLP, Grant Thornton, LLP, KPMG, LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, will offer the new WebTrust Program for On-line Privacy to their clients. The WebTrust Program for On-line Privacy complies with significant privacy guidelines and regulations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Union (EU), the Global Business Dialogue for E-commerce (GBDe) and other significant guidelines in Canada and the United States.

      In addition, WebTrust establishes a global mechanism to continuously monitor and incorporate privacy regulations and procedures into the WebTrust Program, thereby helping companies understand and comply with international laws or regulations.

      "On-line privacy protection can't be solved merely by technology, software or promises," said Anthony Pugliese, Director of Assurance Services for the AICPA. "WebTrust's Program for On-line Privacy blends the best technology tools with a comprehensive, on-line privacy audit to provide a complete privacy solution. Leveraging their unique skill set, CPAs educate business owners about global privacy and security regulations and guidelines, train e-businesses to avoid many of the pitfalls of e-business, and bring their solid, independent audit and technology skills to the Internet to help e-commerce reach its full potential."

      Added Pugliese, "For over a century, the public accounting profession has protected individual investors, helped companies mitigate risk and significantly enhanced stakeholder value. Similarly, CPAs apply their inherent strengths and abilities to e-commerce to help e-businesses gain public trust and credibility."

      "WebTrust and CPAs help businesses to understand the impact of privacy regulations and best practices from the U.S., Canada, the European Union and several Asia-Pacific countries," said Alan Anderson, Senior Vice President of Technical Services of the AICPA. "The WebTrust Program for On-Line Privacy also allows public accounting firms to co-brand the WebTrust Seal by including their name along with the seal on a client's Web site."

      In order to keep pace with global growth of the Internet as a viable medium of exchange, WebTrust is offered by CPAs and their international counterparts in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Discussions are underway to continue expansion into other countries.




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