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Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll

2016 Honor Roll Methodology - Will Your Site Make The Grade?

2015 Online Trust Audit & Honor Report
Annual audit of nearly 1,000 sites including leading banks, retailers, social, media, news, government and IoT sites.  44% make the grade; yet 45% fail to protect consumers and their data from harm and online threats. - Revised 11/13/15

2016 Presidential Candidiates Audit - September 18

2016 IRS Free e-File Audit and Honor Roll

2015 Recap Presentation & Recorded Webinar (YouTube) - June 23

2015 Online Trust Audit
Email Security & Consumer Protection Practices Deep Dive
(PDF, released July 7) 
Recorded Webinar (YouTube)

2015 Most Trustworthy Online Retailers (PDF)
leading retailers embracing consumer protection, security and privacy enhancing best practices

Virtual Press Room 2015 - Releases, Quotes, Photos & More

The Online Trust and Honor Roll Audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a site's and mobile applications best practices in brand and consumer protection, security and privacy.  This annual comprehensive audit underscores the importance of continued monitoring of security and privacy practices and the risks of becoming complacent. Yesterday’s practices and technologies may no longer be applicable or meet today’s regulatory or threat landscape.  Now in its 7th year, the 2015 Online Trust Audit Honor Roll expands to a broader set of privacy and security enhancing criteria reflecting input from over 100 companies, consumer advocates and security professionals.  The 2015 report includes an analysis of the Internet of Things (IoT) segment, focusing on the "connected home" and "wearable technologies".

2015 Methodology    |    2015 Briefing Deck (PDF)    |    Webinar (YouTube)

Summary Internet Retailer Top 500

Summary OTA Member Companies

2014 Honor Roll Highlights

The Australia & New Zealand 150 (ANZ 150),  compares the ANZ region to the global report.

ANZ 150 Audit & Honour Roll Report (PDF - Released Nov 25)

ANZ 150 Press Release (November 25, 2014)

ANZ 150 - List of Sampled Sites

2014 Global Honor Roll Report (June 11, 2014)

Global Honor Roll Press Release (June 11, 2014)

2014 Global Honor Roll

Out of nearly 800 top consumer websites evaluated in 2014, 28.8% made the Honor Roll, distinguishing themselves by safeguarding data via best practices in three categories: domain/brand protection, privacy and security. Nearly 70% didn't’t qualify with 52.7% failing in at least one of the three categories. Of equal concern, only 4% of the News/Media segment qualified, raising concerns regarding the data security and privacy practices of the world's largest news and media sites.


Charts, Tables & Data

Press Release

Honor Roll Virtual Press Room

Webinar Briefing Video

Webinar Briefing Deck

Industry Support

2013 Archives

History & Evolution of the Honor Roll
Since the foundation of OTA in 2005, OTA has worked to track the progress and adoption of best practices, while highlighting early adopters and "North Stars".  In 2009, OTA formally launched the Online Trust Honor Roll and Online Trust Audit, which today is a comprehensive evaluation of a site's best practices in brand and consumer protection, security and privacy.  Through a composite weighted scoring including over two-dozen data points, sites which achieve a score of 80% or greater are named to the Honor Roll.

Unsubscribe Best Practices - Moving From Compliance To Stewardship

Consumers often react negatively to email which they feel is irrelevant to their interests or which may be sent to their inboxes too frequently. Today ISPs are placing added weight on user engagement to make a determination on the placement of email into the user’s inbox, junk or spam folder. With these considerations, it is in any marketer’s best interest to create a trustworthy unsubscribe mechanism for their recipients. The opt-out function should be easily discoverable and useable. OTA encourages mailers to move past the minimum compliance requirements outlined in the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act and the recently passed Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). More >

Apr 4, 2016

The Internal Revenue Service is taking up to 21 days to review tax returns, according to research from fraud prevention vendor iovation, a clear sign that Uncle Sam has stepped up antifraud measures. Even so, tax return scams that pivot off stolen identity data continue to rise for the third consecutive tax season. 

2016 Online Trust Audit Methodology Announced

Fri, Mar 4, 2016

Seattle, Washington - The Online Trust Alliance announced today the methodology for the forthcoming 2016 Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll. This marks the eighth consecutive year OTA has conducted its Online Trust Audit report to identify responsible privacy and data security practices and recognize leaders in the public and private sectors.

Feb 28, 2016

If you're planning on filing your taxes online, caution is advised. An audit released this week by Internet security nonprofit the Online Trust Alliance found that 46 percent, or 6 out of 13 tax software websites in an IRS program, failed cybersecurity protocols. The websites are part of IRS Free File program, which lets anyone who made under $62,000 in 2015 file taxes electronically for free.

Feb 28, 2016

As April 15—tax day in the United States—approaches, the security risk from tax-related fraud is on the rise, according to the Internal Revenue Service.It's not just the IRS, though, that is warning about tax-related online fraud. The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) is warning that 46 percent of the e-filing tax Websites it surveyed get a failing grade for security.

Online Trust Alliance Finds 46% of IRS Free E-File Tax Services Fail to Adequately Protect Consumers

Wed, Feb 24, 2016

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) today announced the results of its 2016 IRS Free E-File Audit & Honor Roll. The audit evaluates the privacy, security and consumer protection practices of the thirteen IRS-approved free e-filing tax services. After an assessment based on nearly 50 criteria, standards and internationally accepted privacy practices, six of the 13 websites, or 46 percent, failed due to poor site security and not taking steps to help protect consumers from fraudulent and malicious email. Conversely, the sites that performed specifically well received an "Honor Roll" status.

2016 Methodology

The 2016 Online Trust Audit has evolved over the past 8 years and includes a composite analysis focusing on three major categories; a company’s consumer protection, data and site security and adherence to responsible privacy practices, including over three-dozen criteria.  One of the major changes for 2016 involves scoring sites which fail any major component of the site security assessment (normally

Online Trust Alliance Names 2015 Most Trustworthy eCommerce Sites

Wed, Jun 3, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA. & CHICAGO, IL – June 3, 2015 – The Online Trust Alliance (OTA), the non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust, announced today results from its 2015 eCommerce Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE).

OTA Announces Methodology for 2015 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll

Mon, Mar 2, 2015

Seattle, Washington - The Online Trust Alliance announced today the methodology behind their forthcoming 2015 Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll, evaluating the online privacy and security of leading websites. This marks the seventh consecutive year OTA has conducted its Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll report to identify responsible privacy and data security practices. 

2015 Honor Roll Methodology

Updated January 28, 2016

Briefing Deck (PDF)      Recorded Webinar (YouTube)      2015 Audit Landing Page


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