PLI Passes the Privacy Torch

After less than two years in existence, the Privacy Leadership Initiative has ceased to operate, deferring to other groups to carry on its mission of educating consumers and businesses about privacy issues, the group announced this week.

The PLI was formed in September 2000 as a privacy research and education partnership of CEOs from 15 corporations, including Acxiom, DoubleClick and Experian; and nine business associations, including the Direct Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which was recently renamed from the Internet Advertising Bureau.

The PLI consumer Web site,, will be taken over by BBBOnLine, a program of the Better Business Bureau system. The site includes privacy tips and tools consumers can use to manage their personal privacy. The site has drawn more than 500,000 unique visitors, and BBBOnLine has formed a new education subcommittee of its board of directors to oversee the site.

The PLI also created “Privacy Made Simple,” a guide to help small and medium-sized businesses develop privacy policies and qualify for an online privacy seal. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with the PLI to distribute the guide and has agreed to keep it available on its Web site. More than 3,000 small businesses downloaded this handbook in its first month from the chamber's Web site. BBBOnLine also has agreed to continue posting “Privacy Made Simple” at the site.

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