Privacy Policies

Too many Privacy Policies are lengthy and opaque, the result being that users don’t understand what they are signing up to.  This can of course be blamed on the users who are supposed to be responsible adults and should look into what they sign up for; however, I don’t consider this a reasonable view.  It is not beyond the whit of companies to make simple summaries of their policies whilst referring to a more legalistic version for the absolute ground truth.

I was reminded of this today when reading an email from Path stating “Today, we’re happy to share with you our updated Terms of Use and Privacy Policy that are easier to understand and better reflect our strong commitment to your safety, privacy and enjoyment of Path.”

This all seemed quite good until I read the Privacy Policy – certainly in clear English for which a tick, but unfortunately deliberately obfuscating.  You get 8 specific bullet points of what they use the information for and then the last bullet:

“for any other purpose for which the information was collected.”

This is a classic of bore you until you can’t be bothered and then give you the ‘sucker punch’ of “oh and anything else we can think of, so don’t complain later we didn’t tell you”.  I am not impressed.

The email was intended to reassure me, but the result is the reverse.  Its a pity I’m probably in a small minority that will have a) clicked through to read the Privacy Policy and b) read it all to understand it was all PR flim flam, and they are the same company that took my address book and other data without asking me the first time.  More fool me and others for not insisting on clarity in the first place.

About Julian Ranger

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Posted on May 7, 2012, in Privacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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