TRUSTe Attends APEC Privacy Meeting in Beijing

TRUSTe attends the APEC privacy event at Beijing.

Earlier this month, TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel participated in the APEC Data Privacy Subgroup (DPS) and Electronic Committee Steering Group (ECSG) meeting in Beijing to discuss the implementation of the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system and cross-border interoperability and ways to speed up uptake among APEC Member Economies and businesses.

TRUSTe continues to remain involved in the discussions around the compatibility of frameworks which address cross border data flows between the APEC Member Economies and the United States.  Currently three APEC Member Economies participate in the CBPR system, the United States, Mexico and Japan, with Canada having formally submitted its notice of intent to participate in the system. As an Accountability Agent, TRUSTe reviews, certifies, monitors and enforces the privacy practices of participating companies to ensure compliance with the CBPR system.  Within the past year, TRUSTe has certified six companies under its APEC Privacy certification program that is based on the CBPR system with 14 additional companies in the process of being certified.

A few highlights from the meeting include:

  • Cross-Border Privacy Rules for Processors – currently the CBPR system applies only to data controllers and APEC is developing a set of standards for data processors that would complement the CBPR system.
  • APEC CBPR System and EU Binding Corporate Rules Next Steps – earlier this year, APEC and Article 29 Working Party released the Referential to map APEC CBPRs to EU BCRs and the discussion in Beijing focused on next steps towards interoperability based on case studies which address real issues companies are faced with as they pursue approval under both systems. It was determined that additional documentation and checklists would prove as a valuable resource as companies apply for approval and certification under both systems.
  • 10-Year Stocktake of APEC Privacy Framework – the DPS agreed that a working group led by Australia would consider proposals for updates to the APEC Privacy Framework to ensure that it remains relevant as the market evolves with innovations in technology.
  • ECSG Workshop – topics of discussion during the one-day workshop included: advancements in technology and business models that drive economic growth and the regulatory frameworks that can support them, organizational accountability and implementing an organizational compliance framework.

For more information about the TRUSTe APEC Privacy program, please visit


Webinar on Key Steps to EU Cookie Directive Compliance

Webinar from TRUSTe on overview of EU Cookie Directive.

With the EU “Cookie Sweep” quickly approaching, TRUSTe is helping businesses ensure compliance with the EU Cookie Directive with a 2-part webinar series titled EU Cookie Sweep: Are You Compliant?

Earlier this week, TRUSTe and Promontory hosted part I of the series, EU Cookie Directive: Key Steps to Compliance. This session provided attendees with an overview of the EU Cookie Directive and outlined steps businesses need to take to stay cookie compliant and win the trust of European customers. Watch the recording of this webinar below:

Part II of the series, EU Cookie Inspections: Are You Ready? will feature speakers from TRUSTe, Fieldfisher and the CNIL and will provide an in-depth look at how businesses should plan for CNIL’s Cookie Inspections. Register now for this session on Thursday, September 4th.


Mobile Shopping Apps Lack Transparency in Data Collection Practices

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report on consumer privacy of mobile shopping apps.

In today’s digital age, consumers have access to a whole new shopping experience at their finger tips via mobile apps. These apps provide obvious benefits to consumers, such as real-time price comparisons, alerts for deals from their favorite retailers, as well as easy checkout methods straight from swiping their phone at the counter. With 58% of U.S. adults owning a smartphone (as of January 2014), the possibilities are endless for retailers looking to take advantage. However, there are still precautions businesses must take to make sure they demonstrate transparency with the user data being collected from these apps.

According to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, these apps often failed to provide information that is important to consumers concerning privacy of data collected, liabilities, and payment disputes. Although nearly all apps linked to privacy policies, these policies used vague language which stated the company’s rights to collect, use and share consumer data –making it difficult for consumers to understand how their data was actually being used.

To address this concern, the report provides various recommendations for companies to enhance consumer privacy practices with their mobile apps, including:

  • Clarity & Transparency: Apps should more clearly describe how they collect, use, and share consumer data – this gives consumers the choice to evaluate and compare apps based on how their data is handled.
  • Safe & Secure Payments: companies need to disclose consumers’ rights and liability limits for unauthorized or fraudulent transactions.  
  • Honor & Implement Data Security Practices: App developers should implement strong protections for the data being collected, and companies should honors those commitments to stated security practices.

The report also urges consumers to be more proactive and aware by seeking out this information themselves before downloading an app.

Since nearly 8/10 consumers won’t download an app they don’t trust, businesses need to show customers that they are committed to mobile app privacy best practices. Earn your customer’s trust and stay compliant through our TRUSTed Apps Privacy Certification program.


TRUSTe Named to 2014 OTA Email Integrity Honor Roll

Today, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) announced the results of its 2014 Email Integrity Audit report and TRUSTe was identified as one of the select few companies that provides adequate email security measures to help businesses protect their brands and consumers from receiving fraudulent email.

Being named to the 2014 Honor Roll is a significant achievement as the report revealed 91.7 percent of businesses and government agencies fail to follow adequate steps and adopt email authentication protocols to help consumers identify if emails are genuine or fraudulent.

“TRUSTe continues to show leadership in privacy practices which helps to enhance online trust and promote market innovation,” said Crag Spiezle, Executive Director and President Online Trust Alliance.

The 2014 Report also includes the OTA Email Trust Scorecard, which measures the adoption of the three email authentication protocols: Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC). The Scorecard provided interesting insight on the organizations adopting email security best practices – of the companies passing the OTA Email Trust Scorecard:

  • 28 percent of the top 50 social media companies
  • 17 percent of the top 100 financial services companies
  • 14 percent of the top 100 Internet retail companies
  • 6 percent of the top 50 news companies
  • 6 percent of the top 500 Internet retailers
  • 4 percent of the top 50 U.S. government agencies

Visit here to learn more about the in-depth review of email security best practices and 2014 Email Integrity Honor Roll.


EU Regulatory Update: Dutch Cookie Rules Enforced

By Saira Nayak, Director of Policy, TRUSTe

The last few weeks have seen a renewed focus on the EU’s Cookie Laws with news that European Data Protection Authorities are introducing a “Cookies Sweep Day” initiative in September to review compliance with the EU Cookie Directive.  And in October, France’s CNIL will conduct cookie and website audits (more details in this Hogan Lovells blog post).

We also continue to see stepped up enforcement of cookie laws by EU regulators.

Last week, the ACM or Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (formerly the OPTA), concluded that the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting violated the requirements of notice and “prior express consent” under the Dutch cookie law.   Also – and importantly – the ACM‘s decision found that implied consent could not be presumed from use of a website.  The ACM ruling interpreting Dutch law is in sharp contrast to other countries such as France, where the CNIL’s guidance specifically provides for implied consent in cases where the user continues to use the site.

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August Monthly Spotlight

-         August 12

EU Cookie Sweep: Are You Compliant?


You may have heard that European Data Protection Authorities will conduct a “Cookies Sweep” from September 15-19 to assess current compliance levels. The CNIL will then conduct further inspections in October using new powers, which came into effect earlier this year.

With the potential of increased enforcement and growing consumer privacy expectations, companies must make sure they are compliant in order to avoid negative media coverage and damage to their brand.

TRUSTe’s Saira Nayak will join Promontory’s Simon McDougall, Fieldfisher’s Oliver Proust and experts from CNIL in a two-part webinar series to present tips and best practices for staying cookie compliant and to win the trust of European customers.

Register now for the first session, EU Cookie Directive: Key Steps to Compliance, to gain information on the following:

  • Amendments to the EU Cookie Directive and current compliance requirements across the EU
  • Insight into what is required to comply with EU cookie guidelines from a technical/IT perspective
  • Examples of how leading brands across Europe have implemented solutions to comply with EU cookie guidelines

The second and final session of the series, EU Cookie Inspections: Are You Ready?  will take place on September 4th.

-          Looking Ahead

Stay tuned for information on TRUSTe events in September, the Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference in Cologne, Germany and the IAPP Privacy Academy and Congress 2014 in San Jose, CA.


View Webinar on Privacy Investment Success Stories

Last week, TRUSTe concluded its three part webinar series which looked at how companies can make the most of their investment in data privacy management. The last session, Privacy Investment Done Right, explored real privacy investment success stories from leading brands.

Forrester’s Fatemeh Khatibloo moderated the discussion between TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel, Intuit CPO Barbara Lawler and AT&T Director – Online Privacy, Compliance and Accessibility, Sachin Kothari to provide insight into how privacy investment has yielded positive returns for their companies. The webinar includes tips on staffing, organizational models, tools, metrics and the cost savings and business benefits realized from deploying an ongoing privacy management strategy.

This session was the perfect conclusion to the three-part series, which explored the ever-important data value exchange between customers and businesses and how transparency, notice and choice are the building blocks of a privacy strategy to create trust in brands.

View the video of the final session below and contact TRUSTe to learn how we can help you implement an effective privacy management strategy for your company.


FTC Revises FAQ Guidance on COPPA and Verifiable Parental Consent

FTC updates COPPA FAQs.

This week the FTC released updates to its Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQs provide specific guidance for COPPA compliance and the updates reflect new and clarified guidelines on parental consent methods.

If your website, Mobile App, or other online service collects data from children under the age of 13, COPPA (and these updates) apply to you.

1.  All Online Service Providers: Updates to Verifiable Parental Consent Guidelines

COPPA requires that online services gain “verifiable parental consent” before collecting data from children under the age of 13.  The FTC provides several approved mechanisms for gaining verifiable parental consent, but has long said that companies are not limited to those mechanisms and may use any consent method that is “reasonably calculated” to verify that the consenting individual is in fact the child’s parent.

One FTC-approved verification method requires that the parent enter a credit or debit card number.  Previously, the guidelines specified that using a credit or debit card to obtain consent needed to be “in connection with a financial transaction.”  The rationale behind the transaction requirement is that the charge appearing on the parent’s financial statement serves as an additional notice and consent safeguard.

The updates note that companies may use a credit or debit card to obtain verifiable consent in absence of a financial transaction if the credit or debit card information is supplemented with other confirmation measures. Such measures include asking security questions to which only the parent would know the answer, or finding supplemental ways to contact the parent for confirmation.  This reflects the FTC’s long-standing position that companies may choose a consent mechanism that works for their business, so long as it is reasonably calculated to identify that the person providing consent is the parent.

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