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Start-up to help businesses get hip to privacy

Riding the wave of Net security fears, a new organization is launching a Web site aimed at helping businesses comply with privacy laws worldwide.

    Riding the wave of Net security fears, a new organization is launching a Web site next week aimed at helping businesses comply with privacy laws worldwide.

    Privacy Council, founded in October, is getting off the ground with $5 million in venture funding plus help from two major partners: Marsh USA, an insurance brokerage firm, and IBM.

    Chief among the council's consulting services is an overview of rapidly developing privacy laws in the United States and abroad.

    "We're not a privacy advocacy firm," said Gary Clayton, the council's chief executive. "We're trying to provide solutions, not preach."

    Seizing on the current climate of consumer rights, the for-profit organization said it will advise companies on how to avoid public relations disasters by shoring up policies involving consumer data mining.

    The service can Security, privacy issues make Net users uneasycost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the company, Clayton said.

    Besides English, the Web site will feature information in Spanish, German, French and Japanese.

    "Privacy is the personal Y2K issue in one sense," said Clayton, who left his legal practice to start Privacy Council, based in Dallas. "As laws are being enacted, executives are going to have to comply."