BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : MARCH 20, 2000 ISSUE
COVER STORY

What You Can Do


While privacy issues get sorted out, individuals can protect their personal information in several ways:

--Pay attention to privacy policies and privacy seals such as those issued by TRUSTe. If you're filling out forms or providing information to a Web site, take the time to find out how the site will use it. If you don't feel comfortable, don't cough up the info

--Check out privacy-advocate sites, such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (www.epic.org), Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org), and TRUSTe (www.truste.org), for the latest privacy news

--Use pseudonyms when you register at a site or post to discussion groups. Don't fill out more information than is strictly required. Registration forms often accept "N/A" or similarly useless entries

--Use free e-mail addresses, such as Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, to register for sites whose privacy policies are suspect. If your privacy gets abused, cancel the e-mail account

--Set your browser's "cookie" preferences to alert you when a site installs a cookie on your computer or when a site asks to use these hidden identifiers. If you're really concerned, set the browser to disable cookies -- but that will force you to sign into personalized sites much more often

--Use programs that keep your Web surfing anonymous, such as Anonymizer (www.anonymizer.com), PrivaSeek Persona (www.privaseek.com), or enonymous advisor (www.enonymous.com)

--Exercise common sense: If there's no explicit reason for a site to ask for personal info about you, there's no reason to give any

Data: Business Week, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, TRUSTe



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