Not only is information about TRUSTe site visitors being made available to TheCounter.com, but TheCounter.com asserts joint ownership of the data. In the Terms and Conditions of use, TheCounter.com states:
At approximately 5 p.m. EDT, we discovered that TRUSTe has removed the web bugs from its site. Perhaps we'll see TRUSTe investigate itself and publish the results so we can understand just how TRUSTe came to allow such a violation of its visitors' privacy.
Complete details of the discovery, including code snippets that show the tracking code as it existed on August 23, 2000, and discussion of the implications can be found in the technical report A Failure to Communicate: When a Privacy Seal Doesn't Help.
Interhack Corporation established the Internet Privacy Project to study how systems deployed on the Internet affect the privacy of web users. The project advocates building systems where privacy is a design requirement from the beginning. Studies include documentation of systems that fail to provide privacy so system designers can better understand how these systems fail to provide adequate privacy protection, hopefully to learn from their mistakes.