Policy Generation, Compact Policies, the Safe Zone - Part 3 of Chapter 5 from Web Privacy with P3P (1/4) | WebReference

Policy Generation, Compact Policies, the Safe Zone - Part 3 of Chapter 5 from Web Privacy with P3P (1/4)

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Web Privacy with P3P, Chapter 5: Overview and Options

Generating a P3P Policy and Policy Reference File

[The following is the conclusion of our series of excerpts from the O'Reilly title, Web Privacy with P3P. -Ed.]

If your privacy policy is fairly simple (or if you happen to enjoy writing XML), you may want to write your P3P policy and policy reference file by hand in XML, perhaps using one of our example policies from Chapter 10 as a starting point. However, most people will probably opt to use a P3P policy-generator program.

A popular policy-generator program is the P3P Policy Editor from IBM, which was developed by one of the authors of the P3P specification--Martin Presler-Marshall--and some of his colleagues. It features a drag-and-drop interface, shown in Figure 5-1, that lets you edit P3P policies by dragging icons representing P3P data elements and data categories into an editing window. The tool also has pop-up windows that let you set the properties associated with each data element (purpose, recipient, etc.) and fill out general information about the site's privacy practices. As you add each data element, you can view the XML that has been created, as well as a corresponding human-readable version of the policy. There is also a useful Errors tab that indicates problems with your policy, such as leaving out information in required fields. The editor comes with good documentation and a set of templates for typical web sites. This tool can also create policy reference files. It is available for free download from the IBM Alphaworks web site at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/p3peditor/.

IBM P3P Policy Editor's drag-and-drop interface
Figure 5-1. The IBM P3P Policy Editor features a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to drag data elements from the left column into groups they create in the right column

The P3P Policy Editor runs on Windows, AIX, Solaris, and Linux platforms and requires users to first install Java 1.2.2 or Java 1.3. Novice Windows users may have difficulty installing this software and using the drag-and-drop interface, but experienced Windows users should find the tool fairly easy to install and use. Unlike some of the easier-to-use questionnaire-driven tools, this tool offers users the flexibility to create any valid P3P policy. Once you learn how to use it, you can create new P3P policies and edit existing ones very quickly. However, to use this tool effectively, you need to have a good understanding of P3P policies (after you read Chapters and of this book, you should be well prepared to use the P3P Policy Editor to develop your own P3P policy).

TIP: You can download the Java 2 Runtime Environment Standard Edition Version 1.3 from http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.3/jre/. Make sure you download the version that is appropriate for the operating system running on your computer.


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Created: January 6, 2003
Revised: January 6, 2003

URL: http://webreference.com/authoring/p3p/chap5/3/