A consumer-focused study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and the nonprofit TRUSTe reveals that eBay is the most trusted company for privacy in America. Other companies listed in the top ten include (in descending order) American Express, Procter & Gamble (all brands), Amazon, Hewlett Packard, U.S. Postal Service, IBM, Earthlink, Citibank and Dell. The study shows that Internet companies, banks and healthcare organizations have earned the greatest trust among consumers while companies in the hospitality and retail food store industries are not considered as trustworthy.

The study, which polled more than 6,300 consumers, also reveals the three top criteria that consumers apply to gauge a company's trustworthiness. The most important factor is the company's overall reputation for product and service quality, followed by a company's limits on collection of its customers' personal information. The third criterion is the use of advertisements and solicitations that respect consumer privacy.