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FTC and The DMA Team Up to Educate Industry about the Ethics of Information Security
NEW YORK, February 6, 2003 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today announced two new initiatives to ensure that the direct and interactive marketing industry creates safeguards to protect personally identifiable information. The DMA's Board approved new guidelines for information security, which will be mandatory for consumer marketer members, and set a high standard for the rest of the industry. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cooperated with The DMA to create a security checklist for marketers.
The FTC also has launched an information security Web site that answers many questions marketers might have about how to protect consumer trust by protecting consumer data. The FTC site and the joint educational materials created with The DMA were developed for this year's National Consumer Protection Week, February 2 - 8, 2003, the theme of which is information security.
"If a company leaves the door open, allowing personally identifiable information to be stolen or altered, it has not done its job in protecting its customers," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "Lose that trust, and consumers will deny you the information you need to build a good marketing relationship."
"If you don't make respect for personal privacy and security of information a part of your corporate culture, I can assure you the FTC will be a part of your future," said Orson Swindle, FTC Commissioner.
"Security is an ethical responsibility for marketers, said Patricia Faley, vice president, ethics & consumer affairs, The DMA. "Working jointly with the FTC, we have created a checklist marketers and privacy officers can use to make sure they've covered all the bases in their security programs."
The DMA/FTC checklist, entitled "Information Security: Safeguarding Personal Data in Your Care," can be found online at: www.the-dma.org/privacy/informationsecurity.shtml.
The DMA's recently-approved information security guidelines are as follows:
The protection of personally identifiable information is the responsibility of all marketers. Therefore, marketing companies should assume the following responsibilities to provide secure transactions for consumers and to protect databases containing consumers' personally identifiable information against unauthorized access, alteration, or dissemination of data:
The guidelines, along with Do the Right Thing commentary to help members comply, can be found at www.the-dma.org/guidelines/informationsecurity.shtml.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States is projected to surpassed a projected $2 trillion in 2002, including $126 billion in catalog sales and $34 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.