New York (Feb. 25, 2002) - The American Institute of CPAs wants brick and mortar businesses to turn to CPAs for advice on privacy issues, and is forming a task force to extend and expand upon its WebTrust program offline, it said Monday.
A recent Harris Interactive poll sponsored by the institute and Ernst & Young found that 83 percent of consumers said they would end any business relationship with companies that misuse customer information. The poll also found that companies with a reputation for good privacy practices earned more business.
With mixed results, the AICPA already has taken a stab at providing other assurance services via CPAs - including WebTrust (to assure that business Web sites are safe places to shop) and SysTrust (to certify that a company's systems are running smoothly).
"This is not just another assurance product," said Task Force member Brian Tretick, a principal with Ernst & Young. "It's going to allow us to develop some standard goals for privacy across businesses. Right now we have a patchwork of legal and regulatory and common practices that need harmony. This is a chance to provide some of that harmony."
The task force's recommendations are expected by the summer.
- Tracey Miller-Segarra
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