Privacy Policies Are For PhDs - InformationWeek

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9/4/2008
11:59 AM
Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto
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Privacy Policies Are For PhDs

BNET has a story, Privacy Policies Are Great -- For PhDs, highlighting the point that privacy policies are so obtuse that a college education or better is required to understand them. That point is perfectly clear to anyone who has read a privacy policy or an end-user license agreement (EULA). These policies are written for legal professionals, not the masses.

BNET has a story, Privacy Policies Are Great -- For PhDs, highlighting the point that privacy policies are so obtuse that a college education or better is required to understand them. That point is perfectly clear to anyone who has read a privacy policy or an end-user license agreement (EULA). These policies are written for legal professionals, not the masses.In our recent InformationWeek Analytics 2008 Strategic Security Survey (registration required), a little more than half of respondents indicated they post a privacy policy for customers. The question is, how many people actually read them and, as a follow-on, how many people understand them?

A privacy policy isn't meant to inform you of your rights. A privacy policy is a legal document to be used in legal matters. It is written in a way that legal professionals understand. That's great, but why can't companies create an easy-to-understand privacy policy for the rest of us? Because if they do, they run the risk of making conflicting assertions which can be used against them in a legal fight.

Bottom line: Privacy policies protect the companies that publish them, not you.

BTW, the score used in the BNET article is based on the Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG). This blog post scored a 13.94, which equates to some college required.

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