W3C Publishes First Public Working Draft of P3P 1.0

Author(s) and publish date


Collaborative Efforts by Key Industry Players and Privacy Experts Promote Web Privacy and Commerce



http://www.w3.org/ -- 19 May, 1998 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the first public working draft of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P)TM specification. P3P applications will enable sites to automatically declare their privacy practices in a way that is understandable to users' browsers. Privacy practices are embedded within the Web site and users can rely upon their client to ensure their privacy concerns are respected. "Browsers that use P3P look out for the user," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web. "They can automatically check a Web site's privacy policy, and release information only where it would be acceptable to the user."

Privacy and Commerce

There is a growing concern regarding potential abuses of users' privacy as well as a growing demand for sophisticated content and services on the Web. Users today must grapple with sites that provide little information about privacy practices, repeated requests for the same information, and an extremely coarse control over technology. For example, current implementations of cookies cause privacy concerns (when accepting all cookies), are a hindrance (disabling cookies can cause difficulties at sophisticated sites), or a nuisance (the user must "swat away" numerous dialogue boxes).

Products using P3P will allow users to be informed of site practices, to delegate decisions to their computer when possible, and allow users to tailor their relationship to specific sites. Users will see P3P in action both in the configuration of their client and during their Web browsing. "Our goal with P3P is to create a platform that is advantageous to both privacy and commerce," explained Joseph Reagle, P3P Project Manager. "Many users are willing to provide information, such as what kind of books they like, to a site they are informed about and trust. P3P allows us to move away from non-existent or confusing privacy practices and repetitive forms towards a win-win scenario."

P3P has received a wide range of support. "I welcome this important new tool for privacy protection," said US Vice President Al Gore. "It will empower individuals to maintain control over their personal information while using the World Wide Web."

Interoperable Foundations

Developed by the W3C P3P Syntax, Harmonization, and Protocol Working Groups, which include both W3C Member organizations and invited privacy experts, P3P's descriptive language is aligned with international business practices and privacy guidelines. P3P is based on established W3C specifications, which include HTTP, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Resource Description Framework (RDF). Future versions will leverage additional W3C technologies such as the Digital Signature Initiative (DSig).

For more information on P3P, see http://www.w3.org/P3P


About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, more than 260 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/

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W3C Publishes First Public Working Draft of P3P 1.0

AOL · AT&T · CDT · The DMA · Engagetech · Hogan & Harston  ·IBM · ICC · Intermind · Matchlogic · Microsoft · Narrowline · Netscape · Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner · Open Sesame · Somm&Partner AG · TRUSTe · United States Vice President


"AOL is pleased to have been involved from its inception in the development of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P). It is through creative technological solutions like P3P that consumers will develop the confidence and trust necessary to benefit from robust, electronic commerce and for the Internet online medium to grow globally. We look forward to P3P's ubiquitous implementation."

-- George Vradenburg, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, America Online Inc.


"P3P has been designed to provide a convenient way for Internet users to control the use of their personal information. AT&T is proud to have contributed to this important technology tool that will empower users to make choices about their online experiences. We hope P3P can go a long way towards addressing the many concerns Internet users have about privacy."

-- Dr. Lorrie Faith Cranor, Senior Technical Staff Member, AT&T Labs-Research.


"Coupled with strong privacy policies and practices, P3P stands to become a robust and effective tool for privacy protection on the Internet. Properly implemented it will help individuals protect their privacy by providing them with control over their personal information during interactions on the World Wide Web. Its emphasis on individual control respects the complexities of implementing policy in a decentralized network like the Internet. Its reliance on a technical platform and a broad, flexible vocabulary will allow it to address individuals' privacy concerns as they move across the Web. Shaping the infrastructure of the Web to support individual control over personal information is an important step in the process or protecting privacy in this emerging environment. The task ahead is to ensure that P3P implementations meet the public's demand for real, effective privacy protection."

--Deirdre Mulligan, Staff Counsel, Center for Democracy and Technology


"Consumers are responding to e-commerce: interactive sales approached $2 billion in 1997. That is why The DMA is invested in the P3P process. By delivering a privacy protection program that meets the needs of both consumers and marketers, we will be assuring that e-commerce will thrive as the next great direct marketing medium. Marketers want consumers to feel comfortable in the online marketplace."

-- Patricia Faley, Vice President, Consumer Affairs, The DMA.


"Internet privacy is of the utmost concern to consumers. The P3P goes a long way in demonstrating that Engage Technologies and other industry leaders are taking this concern very seriously. We are honored to have contributed to such instrumental technology, and to the dramatic improvements it will bring to the way information is exchanged over the Web."

-- Dan Jaye, CTO, Engage Technologies, Inc.


"We need the tools to protect our privacy online and P3P is essential to empower all of us to make informed choices on the basis of our privacy preferences as we navigate the Web."

-- Christine Varney, Attorney, Internet Practice, Hogan and Hartson


"Privacy and the appropriate use of personal information is an important part of enabling e-business on the Web. IBM is delighted to see P3P becoming available to help consumers have more confidence that they can safely disclose information about themselves while controlling its use."

-- John Patrick, Vice President - Internet Technology, IBM Corporation.


"As creators and providers of original content, the Internet Content Coalition is delighted to see P3P becoming available."

--Christopher Barr and Dan Farber, co-chairs, Internet Content Coalition


"P3P is absolutely central to the intelligent information interchange services Intermind is pioneering. You can't let machines automatically exchange sensitive data without giving users control over that process. P3P is that control mechanism, and we expect it to be the key to establishing a new climate of trust for all types of Internet transactions."

--Drummond Reed, Co-Founder, Intermind Corp.


"People using the Internet will need to rely on a tool to help them control how and when their personal information is exchanged. P3P is a valuable tool to help them control how they exchange information online. When a person uses the Internet they are often asked to provide information to web-sites for a number of purposes. We simply defined what those purposes are and how a person can respond to those requests for their information. This is a technological solution to the complex privacy issues facing the Internet today. We expect that trust and confidence on the Internet will increase dramatically as a result of the implementation of this standard."

--Dr. Steven Lucas, CIO, MatchLogic.


"For the Internet to achieve its full potential, people must know that their personal information is secure and private. Unless consumers and businesses have confidence in the privacy and security on the Web, the movement toward electronic commerce and personalization of online services will be dramatically slowed. This P3P standard represents a major step forward in online security and privacy, which will help clear the way for continued growth and development of the Internet. Microsoft is proud to have worked with a broad coalition of companies and organizations to develop this P3P standard, and we will continue to work with the W3C on industry-wide efforts to advance security and privacy on the Web."

-- Bob Herbold, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft.


"The best relationships are those which are built out of trust. Narrowline was proud to participate in this project where, together with leading technology companies, industry organizations and advocacy groups, the Internet industry proved it could come together to build socially aware and smart technology standards for the digital era. P3P is an important element in building robust technology tools to empower users and businesses to have informed and honest relationships. This is a critical step forward in fulfilling the promise of electronic commerce and communication not only in the US but globally."

-- Tara Lemmey, Founder and Chairman, Narrowline


"Netscape is pleased to see this step in the progress of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P). Privacy is very important to end users and Netscape looks forward to working with the W3C and the development community in upholding end user privacy."

-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President, Client Products, Netscape


"As a participant in the development of the World Wide Web Consortium's Privacy Preferences Project (P3P), the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner supports the responsible use of the P3P standard for privacy protection. It is very encouraging to see activities like P3P make privacy become a part of every day life. The global nature of E-commerce and information flow means there must be global mechanisms to allow individuals to maintain control over their information. Currently, legislation is uneven in its ability to provide this protection. Solutions like P3P, developed through consensus, mean that privacy on the Net can be improved right now."

-- Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D., Commissioner, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner


"We at Open Sesame have demonstrated our commitment to user privacy through our support of P3P, our strong privacy policy, and the unique opt out features of our personalization software. We intend to fully support the P3P standard throughout the Open Sesame personalization software product line."

-- Alper Caglayan, President, Open Sesame


"As the first European company to establish sales enhancing Virtual Communities on the Net, Somm & Partner believes that P3P is critical to addressing essential requirements for success on the Net: trust, confidence, privacy, and commerce. Somm & Partner supports P3P as a mechanism for addressing commerce and privacy concerns globally."

-- Felix Somm, President & CEO, Somm & Partner AG


"P3P is an important step in establishing a privacy dialog between Web sites and their visitors. It provides a standard for disclosing online privacy practices, and gives users the ability to make informed decisions about the use of their personal information. Coupled with third party assurance, P3P will accelerate the growth of online commerce by helping to alleviate consumers' biggest online concern: lack of privacy. TRUSTe looks forward to working with technology developers to implement assurance mechanisms like P3P that will further consumer trust."

-- Jonathan Stark, Technical Director, TRUSTe.


"I welcome this important new tool for privacy protection. It will empower individuals to maintain control over their personal information while using the World Wide Web."

-- Al Gore, Vice President, United States States of America.

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