Key Microsoft Web Sites Earn TRUSTe's Approval For Online Privacy Seal

Hotmail, LinkExchange and Among the Latest Sites to Join TRUSTe

REDMOND, Wash. - Dec. 16, 1998 - - Microsoft Corp. today announced that the, MSN™ Hotmail, MSBET Web and newly acquired LinkExchange sites have been awarded the TRUSTe seal. The seal signifies TRUSTe's guarantee that the Web site's privacy policy meets TRUSTe's rigorous standards for the ethical collection and use of people's personal information. These sites join all the properties within the MSN network of Internet services, which have already met with TRUSTe's approval.

Guided by the principles of disclosure and informed consent, the TRUSTe privacy program provides Web publishers with a standardized program, backed by TRUSTe's third-party oversight and consumer resolution process. The program calls for Web publishers to inform visitors of how their sites gather and use information, allow visitors to opt out of uses unrelated to the purpose for which the information was given, and enable them to correct or edit their own information.

"Microsoft's Web sites reach millions of people - Hotmail alone has 30 million members, has 18 million and LinkExchange has 800,000 member Web sites. We want to demonstrate to the Web community at large that we take the protection of our customers' information very seriously," said Laura Jennings, vice president of MSN. "Our sites have always had strict privacy policies in place, and the TRUSTe seal is an important validation of that. This endorsement by a respected third party gives our customers the added assurance that we will honor the trust they have placed in us, so that they can freely enjoy our Web sites."

All Microsoft® online sites have privacy statements one click away from their front-page screens. These statements outline what personal information is collected, how it will be used, and how people can refuse or permit any additional uses of their information. In most cases, no personal information is necessary to view Microsoft Web sites.'s Personal Information Center ( allows customers to choose the information they would like to receive, view and edit their personal information whenever they choose, and ensure that no unsolicited e-mail messages are sent to them.

"Each of Microsoft's Web sites must separately undergo TRUSTe's stringent review process and meet our approval to display the seal on the site," said Susan Scott, executive director of TRUSTe. "Microsoft has actively participated in TRUSTe's privacy program on all fronts, and we applaud the company's commitment to give its customers the strongest reassurances possible that their information is in safe hands."

Following are additional efforts Microsoft has made to protect personal privacy online:

Partnership, a monthlong online banner ad campaign designed to raise awareness of privacy issues and educate consumers about protecting their personal privacy on the Web. The Partnership's goal was to place the banners and messages on as many Web sites as possible to achieve a prevailing privacy consciousness across the Internet. The campaign resulted in at least half a million hits to the Privacy Partnership Web site and double the amount of traffic to TRUSTe's Web site for the duration of the campaign. In addition, nearly 450 Web publishers have since joined the campaign.


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