As you spend more time on the Internet, more information about you and
your Web activities is being shared with Web sites and used without
your knowledge. It is difficult to determine what companies are
getting access to your information or what they will do with it.
Privacy Bird is a tool that can be
added to your Internet Explorer Web browser. It allows you to
enjoy all the benefits of the Internet, while helping you to
remain aware of Web site privacy policies. The software will search automatically for privacy policies at
every web site you visit. You can tell the software about
your privacy concerns (for examples, see below), and it will tell you
whether each site's policies match your privacy
This tour highlights the main features of
Privacy Bird. On this tour you will learn:
Chirping bird tells you if your
preferences are met
Privacy Bird searches automatically for privacy policies at every web
site you visit. You can tell
Privacy Bird about your personal
privacy preferences, and it will notify you as to whether each site's
policies match your privacy preferences by displaying a bird icon in
the top right of your browser's title bar. You can click on the bird
at any time to open the Privacy Bird menu.
green bird appears when Privacy Bird determines that a web
images or other embedded content that do not have privacy policies
associated with them, or that have privacy policies that do not match
your preferences, a red exclamation point will appear next to the
notes in the bird's song bubble.
The angry red bird appears when
The uncertain yellow bird appears when
web site you are visiting. The policy must be encoded according to the
Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) standard in order for the Privacy
Tool to fetch it. If the policy contains an error or if it has
expired or is not valid, the yellow bird will appear. While a web page
is loading and
Privacy Bird is in the process of looking for the
its head from side to side.
The sleeping gray bird appears when
Privacy Bird has been disabled.
settings give you more control
When you click on the bird icon and select My Preferences, a
menu appears that allows you to set your
Privacy Bird preferences.
The Privacy Preference Settings panel allows you to
Privacy Bird according to your personal privacy
Privacy Bird encounters a web site that does not match your privacy preferences,
the red bird icon appears in your browser title bar.
The simplest way to select privacy preference settings is to select from
one of the pre-configured settings -- low, medium, or high. These
settings indicate the number of web site practices that will trigger
privacy warnings. When you select
one of these settings, check marks will appear next to the specific items
that will trigger warnings under that setting.
If you are not entirely satisfied with one of the pre-configured settings,
you can click on the check boxes to add additional warning triggers or to
remove warning triggers.
Privacy Bird can trigger warnings at sites that use the
following information in various ways that you may not find
acceptable: health or medical information, financial or purchase
information, personally identifiable information, non-personally
View the privacy preference
Sounds quickly alert you to
matches and mismatches
You can configure
Privacy Bird to play a sound after
performing a privacy check. A melodic three-note chirp accompanies the
accompanies the unknown policy (yellow bird) icon. A single crow sound
Privacy Bird to always play sounds, never play sounds,
or play sounds only with certain icons. You can also configure
Privacy Bird to play sounds only the first time you visit a site each
session. Sound configuration options are available through the Other
menu under My Preferences.
Learn about web site privacy policies
When you click on the bird icon and select About This Site, a
menu appears that allows you to learn more about the privacy policies
at the web site you are currently visiting.
The Policy Summary item displays a summary of a web site's
matches your personal
At the top of the Policy Summary panel is a short "privacy
check" section. This section indicates whether or not the policy
matches your personal privacy preferences. At sites that match your
preferences, the background color of the panel is pale green. At sites
that do not match your preferences, the background color is pink. In
addition, at sites that do not match your preferences, this section
contains a bulleted list of conflict points between your preferences
and the site's policy.
The second section of the Policy Summary panel is the
policy statements, information about the data described in each statement,
information about whether the site allows you to access your data,
information about contacting the site, and information about resolving
privacy-related disputes. At the end of the policy summary there is a
link to the web site's full privacy. The full policy is the site's privacy
policy written in their own words. If the site provides it, the
policy summary also includes a link to information about how to ask
the site not to use your information for certain purposes.
View an example policy summary.
The Opt-in/Opt-out Info item opens a new window containing the
web site's instructions for opting out of or opting in to mailing
lists, marketing, etc.
The Embedded Content item opens a new window containing a
list of all of the images and other files that are embedded in the web
page you are currently visiting. You can use this list to view the