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Privacy Matters: Should Your Site Be P3P Compliant?

Posted on 1.28.2008
Privacy is of major importance for internet retailers and pretty much anyone else that aims to establish a trusting relationship with end-users on the Internet. P3P, the platform for privacy preferences project (say that three times fast) enables websites to express their privacy practice in a standard format that can be retrieved automatically and interpreted easily by user agents. Essentially P3P is a protocol allowing websites to declare their intended use for the information they collect about website users and visitors. With users becoming increasingly concerned about how their information and their Web habits are being used by the sites they visit and third party affiliates, P3P is designed to give users more control over the kind of information that they allow to release. P3P enabled web browsers can decide what to do by comparing these policies with the user's stored preferences. There are many benefits and criticisms of P3P as a means to protect users privacy, but in the end, any effort you can take to be honest and open with how visitor information is being collected, used and stored will add to your credibility.

Here are a few online tools and resouces which will help create or review a P3P compliant privacy policy:

Privacy Bot : is a privacy seal program that helps web sites implement good privacy practices. Generates near-custom privacy policies, including XML versions based on the P3P specification. Includes online registration of sites to display the branded Trustmark.

P3P Builder : P3PBuilder is a P3P policy generator that creates privacy policies to the W3C specification. It is web-based, easy to use, and is provided with technical support to assist with installation.

P3P Display : P3P Display is a free web based utility that will read in a P3P policy file from a provided web-site, parse the contents, and display a human readable form based on the attributes in the policy and text definitions from the P3P specification. It will also display an equivelent compact policy that reflects the site policies.
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