DMA Board Beefs Up Online Ethics

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Stricter guidelines regarding online marketing toward children and the use of consumers' Social Security numbers were approved recently by the Direct Marketing Association's board of directors.

"Marketers should not collect personally identifiable information online from a child under 13 without prior parental consent or direct parental notification of the nature and intended use of such information," the new guidelines say.

Other restrictions include the sharing of information collected online and the use of information collected from children as a precondition of accessing a Web site or receiving a game or prize. New guidelines for using Social Security numbers say that they "should not be transferred, rented, sold or exchanged for use by a third party when there is a reasonable expectation by the consumer that the information will be kept confidential," and "they should not be publicly displayed on direct marketing promotions."

In other news, the DMA has joined with American Express, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Information Center and consumer advocacy group Call For Action to educate consumers about security and privacy on the Internet. Available is a brochure, "CyberSmarts: Tips for Protecting Yourself When Shopping Online," that contains six tips on how to assure Internet security and three tips for safeguarding privacy online.

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