Internet Privacy Working Group Privacy
Practices for the Web

Submitted to W3C on 17 October 1997

Latest version:
This version:
Internet Privacy Working Group
Deirdre Mulligan, CDT

Status of this Document

This document is a NOTE made available by the World Wide Web Consortium for discussion only. This indicates no endorsement of its content, nor that the Consortium has, is, or will be allocating any resources to the issues addressed by the NOTE. A list of current NOTEs can be found at: http://www.w3.org/TR/.

This document is part of a complete submission to the W3C. The full submission has been acknowledged by W3C and is available at http://www.w3.org/Submission/1997/17/

Note: since working drafts are subject to frequent change, you are advised to reference the above URL, rather than the URLs for working drafts themselves.

Document Version 1.0
October 17, 1997


This document is intended for consideration by the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project. The vocabularies specified (Data Categories, Data Practices, Release, and Access, Contact) are offered for considerations as vocabularies that would fit within the P3P grammar. We also make some ancillary recommendations regarding identification of the "entity" with whom the individual is dealing and the "space" within which a P3P agreement applies.

For a further explanation of what P3P architecture, grammar, and vocabularies please see:

Data Categories

A data category is a quality of a data element or class that may be used by a trust engine to determine what type of element is under discussion (for example anonymous demographics or personal contact information). The first seven data categories are actually data elements within the data category Contact Information but are considered to be important enough to be their own category. The inclusion of a category or data element (as a bullet or example) in no way requires a user to enter that information. For instance, while we state SSN is an example of a Government or Unique Identifier the exchange of this type off data is extremely sensitive and may even be unlawful. We are not recommending that these data elements should be collected or transferred, they are merely examples for a category or type of information one may make privacy practice statements about.


First name
this would include nick-names
Last name
Middle name
Maiden name
Phone number
Other physical contact information
other information that is commonly used to identify, locate and/or contact a person.
Cyberspace Contact Information
information that allows an individual to be contacted or located on the Internet.
  • email address
  • site specific email address
  • URL
Government ids and unique identifiers
identifiers issued by a government or other entity for purposes of consistently identifying the individual -- for example SSN, pseudonyms, account numbers.
Financial account identifiers
identifiers that tie an individual to a financial instrument, account, or payment system -- for example Visa or American Express account number, or bank account number.
Computer Information
  • non-identifying information about the individual's computer system.
  • visitor's computer type
  • operating system
  • browser
Navigational and Click-stream Data
data generated by the individuals activities at a Web site or other experience space, such as the pages of a web site viewed, the links made, the time spent in particular areas.
Transactional data
data that reflects transactions such as logs of phone calls, emails or purchases.
Preference and Demographic Data
non-identifiable data collected from the individual or other source -- not click-stream data -- for example gender, age, and clothes size. There are elements that fall in this category -- such as race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, income -- that raise additional issues.
the words and expressions contained in the body of a communication including the text of email, bulletin board postings, chat room communications.

Practices Defined

A practice is a P3P clause that describes what a service plans to do with data. We specify four types of practices: use, transfer, release, and access.

USE means the handling of information by the entity who received it directly from the subject of the information. The use of information by agents who represent or act for the entity under the relation of agency also is considered use.


TRANSFER means to transfer, provide access to, or otherwise divulge information to another entity that is legally related to the entity with whom the individual is interacting and is bound by the same information practices. the sharing of information between "affiliates" or "subsidiaries" is considered a transfer.


RELEASE means to release, provide access to, or otherwise divulge information to one or more unrelated third-parties. exchanges of information between two separate corporations is a disclosure.

ACCESS the ability of the individual who is the subject of the information to view, and/or correct it.

(this field would also have a space for a pointer to a Web page or some text giving more information)

Ancillary Recommendations

We believe that within P3P statements a field for each of the following should exist:

CONTACT site should provide relevant contact information including company or individual name, contact person, phone number, address, email.

AGREEMENT WITH site should indicate the entity with whom the individual is interacting (representation should be consistent with consumers perception).