The Privacy Projects Launches to Fund 'Evidence-Based' Privacy Research New Group Will Be Independent Voice in Support of Consumer Data Protection

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The Privacy Projects will set, fund and promote an evidence-based privacy research agenda to help create policies, practices and tools to match the power of new technologies in helping maintain the balance between using and protecting personal data.

Innovation in privacy and data protection has not kept up with advances in technology. The Privacy Projects will help by inspiring the industry to accelerate its thinking around the evolution of data protection. We welcome a new partner in building consumer confidence online.

Mobile devices, cloud computing and global business partnerships enabled by the Internet and other network services have redrawn the map of the global flow of personal information.

Technology will continue to drive simple services built on these complex systems, pushing the balance between using and protecting personal data "to the breaking point," according to Richard Purcell, President of The Privacy Projects (TPP), a non-profit research institute that launches today.

The Privacy Projects (http://www.theprivacyprojects.org) intends to fund academic research into "evidence-based" privacy to enhance policies, practices and tools necessary to meet the power of the new technologies. "We intend to support advances in the ways companies collect, store, use, share and manage customer information," said Purcell. "We encourage the digital human represented by the data to be more respected and better protected."

Funded by the proceeds of the sale of the assets of TRUSTe, the leading online privacy seal program, when it moved to for-profit status in 2008, TPP will be "an independent voice for what can come next" as companies, governments and consumer advocates consider, develop and deploy information-driven businesses with data protection and privacy built in.

Fran Maier, CEO of TRUSTe (http://www.truste.com), welcomes the effort. "Innovation in privacy and data protection has not kept up with advances in technology. The Privacy Projects will help by inspiring the industry to accelerate its thinking around the evolution of data protection. We welcome a new partner in building consumer confidence online."

The new group's first research paper, written by UC Berkeley Professor Paul M. Schwartz, focuses on how six global corporations control cross-border data flows to meet customer needs while complying with multiple, local regulation. TPP will present the paper at the upcoming workshop of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Additional research -- four or five are planned each year, according to Purcell -- will expand on the ways in which data policies, practices, and technology tools can evolve to meet the current needs of all players.

"Technology and consumer demand for Internet-based services have clearly outpaced many of the laws and regulations initially put in place to protect consumers," said Purcell. "Our goal is to provide evidence-based information to support the dialogue toward establishing increased corporate accountability and greater regulatory relevance to today's information economy."

Purcell, CEO of Corporate Privacy Group and Chairman of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee (http://www.dhs.gov/files/committees/editorial_0512.shtm), was the first Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft and is chairman emeritus of TRUSTe. He is joined by six privacy luminaries on the board of TPP. The six are:

Joe Alhadeff, Chairman of The Privacy Projects, is the Vice President, Global Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer for Oracle, the world's largest business software company.

Fred Cate is a Distinguished Professor, C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Informatics at Indiana University where he directs the university's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

Stanley Crosley is the Chief Privacy Officer at pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. He initiated the company's global privacy program in 1998.

Peter Cullen, Secretary of The Privacy Projects, is General Manager, Trustworthy Computing and Chief Privacy Strategist at Microsoft. He is directly responsible for managing the development and implementation of programs that bolster the privacy and trustworthiness of the software company's products, services, processes and systems worldwide.

Audrey Plonk is Global Security and Internet Policy Specialist at Intel Corporation. She leads the technology company's global policy efforts on security topics including cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection and encryption.

Jules Polonetsky is the co-chair and director of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank seeking to improve the state of online privacy by identifying and advancing responsible data practices.

The TPP board will oversee the research agenda, research team selection and funding. Currently, TPP is not seeking contributions from corporations, Purcell said, but as the research agenda develops, TPP will consider contributions from any entity interested in supporting a particular initiative.

"Right now there are highly effective and successful efforts to promote the profession of privacy, its 'best practices' and mandating cures for breaches." Purcell said, "At the Privacy Projects we are looking forward to ways our information economy will grow and progress and to inform the discussion of how to make that growth great for everyone."

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