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June 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:49pm

W3C TACKLES WEB PRIVACY WITH P3 PLATFORM

By CBR Staff Writer

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) yesterday announced the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3), which W3C members will work to complete to complete and support in their products. The project was started a few weeks ago and announced officially by W3C director Tim Berners-Lee at the Federal Trade Commission’s Public workshop on Consumer Online Privacy yesterday. The P3 Working and Interest Groups will meet for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the end of the month. Microsoft Corp, Netscape Communications Corp and Firefly Network Inc are going to co-operate to build P3 upon the previously proposed Open Profiling Standard (OPS). That standard was submitted to the W3C by Netscape recently. Microsoft countered with its own version of a profiling standard and alleged that Netscape had just re- written Firefly’s idea anyhow. But now all the toys appear to be back in the pram and co-operation is the order of the day. P3 is meant to ease the web commerce path for technical, market and regulatory solutions to both build and interoperate with sites. The Consortium’s got a P3 prototype up and running which enables websites to describe both their privacy practices as well as users to set policies about the collection and use of their personal data. The idea is that between the website’s practices and the user’s preferences a negotiation can be achieved. P3 will enable users to download recommended settings from industry associations and advocacy groups. Support for the move also comes from AT&T Corp. Up until now the W3C has been working with the Internet Privacy Working Group to create a vocabulary and encoding method for expressing privacy policies; define transport and negotiation protocols and sort out the discrepancy in current proxy and cache technology between network efficiency and the collection of accurate website usage information. The consortium is planning such things as mechanisms for creating a coherent privacy preference GUI; a privacy assertion transportation mechanism extending PICS – a project for associating labels (metadata) with internet content – and embeddable in cookies, channels, HHTP etc and a protocol or documented convention for flexible practice/preference mediation. The P3 Working and Interest Groups will meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the end of the month.

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