Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Privacy Policies Are Incomprehensible Disasters

Kevin Litman-Navarro, New York Times:

Consumers don’t need a technical understanding of data collection processes in order to protect their personal information. Instead of explaining the excruciatingly complicated inner workings of the data marketplace, privacy policies should help people decide how they want to present themselves online. We tend to go on the internet privately – on our phones or at home – which gives the impression that our activities are also private. But, often, we’re more visible than ever.

A good privacy policy would help users understand how exposed they are: Something as simple as a list of companies that might purchase and use your personal information could go a long way towards setting a new bar for privacy-conscious behavior. For example, if you know that your weather app is constantly tracking your whereabouts and selling your location data as marketing research, you might want to turn off your location services entirely, or find a new app.

Sarah Jeong:

And in all fairness, the New York Times privacy policy is slightly longer and harder to understand!

Most privacy policies are not documents that would befit their name. They are not policies that ensure the privacy of visitors, users, or customers. They are most often contracts that allow for as much freedom for the company and whatever third parties it designates and as few remedies as possible for signatories. They are terrific examples of the corruption of the definition of privacy.