So if a privacy seal is cosmetic, who really pays attention to it? According to a study done by Forrester Research in October, 40% of visitors to ecommerce Web sites look for a privacy seal, and customer interest in privacy seals is expected to grow.
Vendors in the privacy seal space include TRUSTe, Council of Better Business Bureau Inc. (BBBOnLine.com), Privacy Secure Inc., PrivacyBot.com, ESRB Privacy Online and Guardian eCommerce.
Privacy seals are not a technical solution to the various attacks against Web applications or a way to stop other low-tech attacks like phishing, but they can still offer a business value by making customers feel assured that a company is properly protecting the confidentiality of their personal information. And in the minds of customers, that can sometimes be stronger than a firewall, since it's a security measure that you can see vs. one you can't.
This was first published in February 2007