GUEST ESSAY: Few consumers read privacy policies—now tools can do it for them
Yet our world has evolved online. We have an average of 67 apps on our mobile phones, seven social media accounts and over 120 online accounts. But these accounts aren’t just about networking and gaming.
Related: What happened to privacy in 2021
The COVID crisis forces us to work remotely. Our children are now taking online classes. Financial, health, home security, governance and all other mission critical services are now delivered online. The question is at what price?
All of these activities leave a massive digital footprint that includes our private data. With the prospect of the metaverse and other fully immersive online worlds, our data becomes us. Any misuse of this data may have consequences that are incomprehensible to us.
Whenever it is offered with a possibility to protect the privacy of our data, we will take it. There is value in our private data and not just for advertising agencies. The problem is that there are no tools available that can help end users understand the complex and intricate world of online privacy protection and the privacy policies that underpin it. Let’s try to define the scope of such a tool by answering a few questions.
What exactly should this tool do, what kind of added value is expected for end users?
It should be integrated into users’ daily routines and support them every time they install a new mobile app or sign up for an online service. In the ideal situation, users need to know who collects their data, what data is collected, how the data is used, how long the data is stored, what rights they have regarding data processing, what security measures are applied to protect their data, and more, through a user-friendly interface without having to read long and complex privacy policies.
Service providers regularly update privacy policies with limited or no notices to end users. It’s hard to know how these updates affect us. Good tools should provide users with archives of all accepted privacy policies. It should automatically track these updates and provide notifications to end users.
The right tool should:
• Educate users on the importance of online privacy and data protection.
• Empower users to set ground rules for how their data should be collected and used by businesses.
•Provide users with an “opinion” on the quality and impact of what is written in the User Privacy Preferences Policy.
Users are used to keeping a file with all their contracts in the physical world. This good practice should also translate to the virtual world.
What technologies should the tool use?
The technologies to make this tool a reality already exist. Applying artificial intelligence and using natural language processing to dissect complex privacy policies is the right way to go.
*** This is a syndicated blog from the Security Bloggers Network of The Last Watchdog written by bacohido. Read the original post at: https://www.lastwatchdog.com/guest-essay-few-consumers-read-privacy-policies-tools-can-now-do-this-for-them/