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PRIVACY IS A TOP CEO PRIORITY

Source: WebTrust.org

Posted on September 26, 2001

      Fretting over the legal and regulatory land mines posed by privacy, CEOs are increasingly making it a top priority, according to a new survey from the Direct Marketing Association. Sixty-eight percent of companies polled said the president or CEO, or a chief privacy official that reports directly to the president or CEO, has the primary responsibility for privacy, according to the DMA Corporate Privacy Officer survey.

      Forty-seven percent of the 282 companies polled said they sought outside consultants to advise on privacy, and 38% have used lawyers. At 26% of the companies polled, a president or CEO oversees privacy; 15%, have put a marketing manager in charge. Eight percent of those companies polled said a list manager oversees privacy. Only 7%, meanwhile, have placed a direct marketing manager in charge.

      The survey findings show companies are not myopic in their privacy oversight, monitoring a broad range of areas.

      Eighty-one percent said they monitor privacy legislation; 80% self-regulatory issues; 69% privacy technology issues; 46% employees' privacy issues; and 37% international privacy issues.

      The DMA surveyed companies, mostly from its membership, across a broad range of industries including direct marketing, financial, retail/catalog and publishing.The DMA's findings come as privacy moves from being an obscure topic to one of major importance to b-to-b marketers.

      Pending legislation that could drastically curtail the sharing of client information is being considered by Congress, and big B-to-B marketers, including IBM Corp., are putting the topic front and center. IBM Chairman-CEO Lou Gerstner has been especially outspoken on privacy issues, encouraging a self-regulation approach, which the DMA is also recommending.

      Last year, IBM became one of the first Fortune 500 marketers to adopt a double opt-in e-mail marketing policy.




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