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Friday, December 01, 2006

A Few Important Questions On Privacy Answered.

Ray Everett-Church is an internationally recognized expert on privacy law and Internet-related public policy. In 1999, he became the world’s first corporate Chief Privacy Officer, a development that became highly influential across the business world. Since then, hundreds of major companies – including IBM, Microsoft, Bank of America and American Express – have followed suit and appointed their own chief privacy officers.

An author of numerous articles and books on Internet privacy issues, Ray has testified before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Federal Trade Commission, and has appeared at numerous conferences and seminars. He is also a frequent commentator on legal and technology issues involving the Internet.

Ray sat down to answer a few questions about AGLOCO and privacy.

Q: How can I be certain my personal information is secure with AGLOCO and will never be sold or distributed?

Ray Everett-Church: AGLOCO’s Privacy Policy contains our promises to you about exactly how we will protect your personal information. The Privacy Policy, along with our Member Agreement, form a legally binding contract between you, the Member, and us. If we were to violate our promises, there are a myriad of law enforcement organizations, consumer protection agencies, not to mention armies of lawyers, who will make sure we don’t get away with it.

But there are two even more important reasons for AGLOCO to protect the privacy of our Member data:

First, the Members own AGLOCO. All of the company’s activities are based on the premise that the best interests of the Members drive every decision and inform every choice.

Second, AGLOCO is a new and special kind of business, called an “infomediary.” An infomediary works as an agent on behalf of consumers to help them get a share of the money paid by advertisers, on-line retailers and other marketers on the Internet. The more AGLOCO knows about each of its Members, the more valuable each of its Members gets. And the less other companies know about AGLOCO Members increases even further the value to AGLOCO, and thereby to you. Our Member information is the “crown jewel” of the company, and selling or renting the data would undermine the entire concept of the infomediary. Thus, protecting the privacy of Member data is at the heart of our business model and our incentives to never rent or sell that data are strong.

Q: If AGLOCO will never sell or distribute my personal information, why does it need it in the first place when I sign up?

Ray Everett-Church: There are two main reasons why we need your personal information.

First, we need to have a certain amount of information about you in order to create and administer your Membership, including the information that will be needed to make sure you get your distributions from AGLOCO.

Second, that information forms an important part of your Member data, helping us to know that you are a “real” person and thereby allowing AGLOCO to charge advertisers a higher price for the chance to have ads delivered. For example, having a postal code for each member helps us to target ads for local advertisers in your region. Such geographic targeting can be very difficult for Internet ads, which is why advertisers will pay a premium. Unlike any other Internet company, we will return that premium to you.

Q: How can I be sure AGLOCO does not change its privacy policy in the future?

Ray Everett-Church: The AGLOCO Privacy Policy is a “work in progress” which will be constantly updated and expanded to include new products or services that AGLOCO will offer to its Members. But the fundamental privacy protections contained in both the Privacy Policy and the Member Agreement will remain strong.

Anytime the Privacy Policy or Member Agreement changes in a substantive way, we will notify our Members via email and the website, and you will be asked to review the changes and agree to them. You are free to decline and to cancel your membership, at which time your profile will be deleted. Even after you leave, any data we may still have about you (including any financial and/or legal records that we are required to keep by law) will still be bound by the last Privacy Policy to which you agreed.

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