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Shop Shield privacy protection expanded to IE browser

Published 19 August 2010

Experts say that the best way to assure the safety of financial and personal identifying information (PII) transmitted on the Internet, and prevent it from being lost, stolen, or misused, is to keep it private by not transmitting it to Web sites in the first place; Shop Shield allows consumers to engage in commercial transactions on the Web without giving these Web sites information such as e-mail addresses, passwords, usernames, phone numbers, billing addresses, credit card numbers, or other user payment information; Shop Shield even allows consumers to do business on the Web without giving out their names

Good news for e-commerce and for people worried about identity theft (which means all of us). After four months of Beta testing, Kemesa today announced that it is expanding the browser-based version of Shop Shield to include Internet Explorer (IE). Shop Shield Companion is already available for the Firefox browser , so today’s announcement means that Shop Shield Companion will now be available to more than 80 percent of consumers, businesses, and organizations in the United States.

The company says that Shop Shield Companion can provide privacy protection at virtually any Web site. It launches automatically at more than 4,000 major Web sites, auto-fills required information at Web stores representing more than 90 percent of retail sites, and can also be launched manually from the Shop Shield icon in the browser toolbar at just about any site. Once it is launched manually it will auto-launch the next time the site is visited.

Identity theft is a growing problem. The Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) 2010 Consumer Internet Transaction Concerns Survey concludes that “consumers are acutely aware of the potential loss of sensitive information when conducting transactions online.” The study found that 87 percent of consumers who made a purchase or bank transaction online in the past month are concerned about the safety of the personal identifying and financial information they transmit.

Kemesa notes that experts have recognized that the best way to assure the safety of financial and personal identifying information (PII) transmitted on the Internet, and prevent it from being lost, stolen, or misused, is to keep it private by not transmitting it to Web sites in the first place. This means that consumers should have available to them a tool which will allow them to engage in commercial transactions on the Web but which, at same time, will not give Web sites information such as e-mail addresses, passwords, usernames, phone numbers, billing addresses, credit card numbers, or other user payment information. Kemesa says that its product even allows consumers to do business on the Web without giving out their names (see “Kemesa: Solving the identity theft problem,” 10 August 2009 HSNW).

The ITRC calls products that allow consumers to control such sensitive personal information when transacting online Secure Payment Agents. “We feel strongly that the emerging class of Secure Payment Agents will effectively address these consumer concerns…” says Jay Foley, executive director of the ITRC.

Kemesa notes that Shop Shield replaces all real financial and personal identifying information with data that is accepted by Web site but which is untraceable to its user — and that, as a result, Shop Shield has been the first product to be recognized as a Secure Payment Agent. “Our user’s real information is always kept private and can’t be lost, stolen or misused because it’s never transmitted,” says Michael Keough, CEO of Kemesa.How the Shop Shield Companion worksShop Shield protect its user’s privacy when they make purchases, pay bills at sites that accept credit card payments, or ask for the consumer’s personal identifying information. Shop Shield will automatically launch as a sidebar to the left of the Web site at most major Web stores and at any site where it has been used before.

When making purchases, users need only to select a shipping address and decide which bank account, credit, or debit card to which to charge the purchase. At most Web stores it will auto-fill all required fields with anonymous data that is untraceable to the user. Confirmation e-mails arrive at the user’s inbox just as they normally would — but to protect privacy, these e-mails pass through a replacement e-mail address provided by Shop Shield (you may want to watch this video demonstration).

Secured information

The company says that the financial and personal identifying information users provide in order to use Shop Shield is protected by a patent-pending security system that exceeds federal banking standards and goes beyond being PCI compliant. The system is designed so that even if all stored data were stolen, the data would be completely useless. In addition, Shop Shield is certified as safe by leading industry authorities including VeriSign and Trustwave.

 

Note that Shop Shield offers a no-obligation 60-day free trial. During the free trial period users have unlimited access to both Companion and Web site applications and can charge their purchases to their choice of bank accounts, major credit cards and debit cards. At the end of the free trial period, if users wish to continue using Shop Shield, they may choose from three membership plans, including a no-cost option.