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IBM offers privacy consulting services

Riding the raging success of its e-commerce services, IBM announces privacy consulting services aimed at helping businesses implement privacy policies, procedures, and technology.

Riding the raging success of its e-commerce services, IBM today announced consulting services aimed at helping businesses implement privacy policies, procedures, and technology.

The services will also try to provide insight into how to build consumer trust in in the far-flung networked world.

IBM's announcement comes at a time of growing concerns over privacy issues on the Internet. An increasing number of e-commerce sites and portals collect consumer information and many companies place employee information on access-restricted sites on the Internet so individuals can manage some aspects of their human resource needs.

The consulting services will be part of IBM's Global Services division. At the core of the services is a tool-assisted methodology that shows the steps involved and the questions that need to be addressed to set up the right privacy policies and systems.

Analysts said the services will help users identify "hard," costs such as new systems and upgrades, and "soft" costs--expenses that customers hadn't considered.

Privacy services are designed to address specific customer requirements and are based on work with IBM researchers, global service professionals, and industry experts. IBM plans to implement policies and procedures needed to protect personal information that is collected and maintained on customers and employees.

"The growth of electronic commerce depends on trust," said Gary Roboff, chairman of Banking Industry Technology Secretariat (BITS) Research & Planning Steering Committee, in a statement. BITS is a organization that focuses on privacy issues. "These new services can help companies such as banks build that trust, and show individuals--the customers of our customers--that they are protected by a thoughtful, comprehensive privacy program."

IBM's privacy services also help identify the types of information being gathered and processed, ensuring that consumers get proper notification of how their personal information will be used.