Bell Atlantic Urges Telecommunications Companies to Join Online Privacy Alliance

Bell Atlantic Urges Telecommunications Companies to Join Online Privacy Alliance

CEO Seidenberg Issues Self-Regulation Challenge to USTA Members, Attendees

October 13, 1998


Mark Marchand,
(518) 396-1080

NEW YORK -- Local telephone companies and other
telecommunications providers throughout the country should join the new
Online Privacy Alliance, Bell Atlantic Vice Chairman, President and Chief
Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg urged today.

The industry needs to prove that self regulation can work to ensure
privacy of transactions on the Internet, Seidenberg said in a letter to all
local telephone companies and other attendees of the United States
Telephone Association (USTA) annual convention in Philadelphia this

"The federal government is watching. Consumers are watching,"
Seidenberg said. "Working alone, or in small groups, we will be unable to
change consumer perceptions of online privacy.

"Together, we can prove that self regulation can work, that nobody
understands our customers' needs better than we do, and that we are
worthy stewards of our customers' trust," he added.

Seidenberg was a keynote speaker at the USTA annual convention.
Bell Atlantic is a founding member of the Online Privacy Alliance,
a cross-industry coalition of more than 50 companies and associations that
encourages companies to adopt and post privacy policies online. The
alliance, launched earlier this year, is helping to define privacy policies for
the new electronic medium and to foster an online environment in which
businesses respect personal privacy.

"We believe that self regulation is the right answer -- that
companies need to understand the need for ethical privacy policies online
and can behave in ways that encourage consumer confidence," Seidenberg
said. "Alliance supporters are committed to making more businesses more
aware of the need to post privacy policies and adhere to them."

Privacy issues and policies are an essential part of how Bell
Atlantic cares for its customers. The company has established formal
privacy principles which employees use daily to ensure protection of
customers' privacy in an era of rapidly changing communications
technology and applications. These principles are listed on Bell Atlantic's
web site: http://www.bellatlantic.com.

"Through our involvement with the alliance and with our privacy
principles, we're committed to creating an environment of trust online and
fostering the protection of individuals' privacy in electronic commerce,"
said Shelley Harms, Bell Atlantic executive director for public policy and

She added that Bell Atlantic will help sponsor privacy briefings for
businesses in New York City and Boston during the next three months.

In addition to Seidenberg's letter to USTA convention attendees,
Toby Webb, Bell Atlantic's executive vice president for external affairs,
wrote a similar letter this week to public policy executives at the largest
local telephone companies throughout the country.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines
and more than seven million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic
companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data
services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest
publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also
among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.