BBBOnline, the Better Business Bureaus' privacy-certifying subsidiary, is reinforcing its program with a more established "seal of approval."

The organization is turning to Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a 105-year-old specialist in product safety, to monitor compliance with the BBBOnline privacy seal program. Since its launch in March, BBBOnline has received more than 400 applications from companies to become certified and display the mark.

UL will monitor a representative sample of BBBOnline seal-holders in the fall.

"This agreement should give consumers an unprecedented level of trust in the on-line privacy policies of companies participating" in the BBBOnline program, said the group's chief operating officer, Russell Bodoff.

UL is taking this opportunity to expand its monitoring services to include Internet privacy, said Bob Miller, the Laboratories' vice president of global programs and services. "We are able to perform this on-site function due to our extensively trained field staff located throughout the U.S. and abroad."

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