W3C News: Announcing First Public Working Draft of P3P

W3C Publishes First Public Working Draft of P3P 1.0 

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

For immediate release 

  Contact America --
                  Sally Khudairi <khudairi@w3.org>
  Contact Europe -- 
                  Ned Mitchell <ned@ala.com>
                  +33 1 43 22 79 56
                  Andrew Lloyd <allo@ala.com>
                  +44 127 367 5100
  Contact Asia --
                  Yumiko Matsubara <matsubara@w3.org>

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 
For testimonials on P3P, see http://www.w3.org/Press/1998/P3P-test.html

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

W3C Hosts 

    MIT Laboratory for Computer Science http://www.lcs.mit.edu/ 
    INRIA http://www.inria.fr/ 
    Keio University http://www.keio.ac.jp/

Received on Tuesday, 19 May 1998 12:22:24 UTC