December 19, 2011 09:00 ET

TRUSTe Unveils Top Online Privacy Predictions for 2012

Trailblazer in Online Privacy Says Location-Based Technology, Expanding European Regulations, Third Party Tracking and Mobile Play Prominent Roles in New Year

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 19, 2011) - With 2011 quickly coming to a close, TRUSTe, the leading online privacy solutions provider, today unveiled its online privacy predictions for 2012. As online businesses grew in 2011 -- through innovative technologies in advertising, cloud services and mobile apps -- the call for online privacy rang loudly and repeatedly throughout the industry. TRUSTe predicts continued volatility in 2012, but also sees numerous opportunities for businesses to provide consumers with enhanced transparency, accountability and choice in the coming year. TRUSTe's privacy predictions for 2012 cover a wide array of topics, including: location-based technology; emerging European regulations; the FTC and third party tracking; and privacy solutions for the fast-growing mobile market.

"With the collection and usage of consumer data spreading like wildfire across a myriad of emerging online businesses, 2011 was a year of extraordinary change for online privacy," said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe. "Along with the excitement about the potential of innovative online technologies, the industry was also forced to address both trepidation and concern for the safety and respect of consumers' personal privacy. TRUSTe is pleased to share some of our privacy expectations for the New Year."

TRUSTe - Online Privacy Predictions: 2012 Edition
TRUSTe has unparalleled insight into the privacy market built on more than a decade of experience. TRUSTe keeps its finger on the privacy pulse through ongoing and independent research; close engagement in the legislative process; cooperation with industry and regulatory bodies; and, of course, its work with thousands of business customers to build strong online privacy practices. TRUSTe has maintained its focus on developing consumer trust and understanding, while delivering privacy solutions that allow companies to implement responsible practices and adhere to emerging regulatory requirements.

Leveraging this unique vantage point, TRUSTe projects the following events in the year ahead:

  1. FTC goes after websites for privacy violations related to third-party tracking -TRUSTe predicts that companies will start to be held accountable for tracking conducted by third parties on their sites. The time is now to comply with industry self-regulation and give consumers notice and choice over third-party tracking activities.

  2. Ad privacy notice and choice goes mobile - With mobile traffic accounting for 14.3 percent of Black Friday 2011 online retail traffic, mobile self-regulatory guidelines for notice and choice regarding online behavioral advertising (OBA) and tracking will be here in force by next holiday season. To succeed, companies must implement a mobile privacy solution now and offer customers a policy optimized for display on mobile devices.

  3. Privacy becomes a hot job skill - Companies will conclude that they need to hire people with in-depth privacy backgrounds to deal with increasingly complex privacy regulations, as well as emerging marketing programs like targeted advertising.

  4. Location-based technology breaks national news - TRUSTe foresees innovative usages of location-based technology that will make national headlines, for example, crime solving (e.g. finding a missing child) or instigating a political downfall (use your imagination).

  5. Europe says 'When in Rome, follow our privacy rules' - TRUSTe predicts an 80 percent chance that 2012 is the year that U.S. companies must follow EU countries' individual privacy standards when doing business in Europe. It's no longer 'business as usual' for Yanks abroad.

  6. Congress will NOT pass a privacy bill - TRUSTe predicts continued FTC action establishing de facto privacy rules through consent orders but believes the passage of comprehensive privacy legislation by Congress is unlikely. The FTC has prosecuted an average of around 10 privacy cases each year, and more can be expected in 2012. Companies must abide by regulatory requirements or risk prosecution.

Additionally, TRUSTe shares a couple of long shots in its 2012 online privacy predictions, including:

  • Presidential candidate announces plans for new post - Secretary of Online Privacy
  • Fortune 500 company announces multi-billion dollar market cap hit tied to privacy snafu

In 2012, TRUSTe resolves to continue its leadership role and laser-like focus on the industry to help companies meet their evolving privacy obligations across all online businesses -- whether existing, emerging or yet-to-be-envisioned -- while building a solid foundation for consumer trust and confidence. Here's to a bright New Year in online privacy!

About TRUSTe
TRUSTe is the leading online privacy solutions provider and provides a broad suite of privacy management solutions enabling companies to safely and efficiently manage the customer data required to power all of their online businesses across advertising, cloud services, mobile apps and websites. Over 4,500 web properties including those from top companies like Apple, AT&T, Disney, eBay, HP, Microsoft, Nationwide, and Yelp rely on TRUSTe to ensure compliance with evolving and complex privacy requirements. TRUSTe's mission, based on a "Truth in Privacy" framework, is built on a solid foundation of transparency, choice and accountability regarding the collection and use of personal information. TRUSTe's privacy seal is recognized and trusted by millions of consumers as a sign of responsible privacy practices. For additional information on TRUSTe and its offerings, please visit

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