Big 5 Firms Rally for 'Net Privacy'

Consumer privacy and ramifications of the topic still stir controversy even in the most conservative circles. Take several Big 5 firms, for example, who are playing a major role in nailing the coffin shut on any mishaps related to secure information.

A new group is being formed called the Personalization Consortium, and Big 5 members include PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. In fact, PWC Partner Larry Ponemon serves as co-chairman.

The group is developing a set of guidelines for member businesses to follow when they collect information about a customer or user, and will ask members to display a unique 'seal' on the site to verify the security of the information collected.

The group plans to formalize the organization on April 5 during Internet World in Los Angeles. According to sources, several businesses apparently have said they would not join the group because the suggested guidelines require that the consumer understand exactly what data is being collected. Guidelines also require Web site privacy practices to be audited.

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