What to Look For When Reading a Privacy Policy

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Yael Grauer wrote a useful guide on what to look for when reading a privacy policy, such as length, updates, and more.

While you shouldn’t feel compelled to read your apps’ and services’ privacy policies word for word—boring!—there are still a few key criteria you should look for while you’re skimming. Yes, skimming; you shouldn’t ignore privacy policies completely, because it’s important to know what’s being done with (or to) your data.

I also use two tools called Polisis and PriBot. These are automated tools that break down a privacy policy for you.

Most Privacy Policies Exceed Reading Standards With Low Readability

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Journalists at The New York Times read 150 privacy policies, finding most of them to be incomprehensible with low readability scores.

To be successful in college, people need to understand texts with a score of 1300. People in the professions, like doctors and lawyers, should be able to understand materials with scores of 1440, while ninth graders should understand texts that score above 1050 to be on track for college or a career by the time they graduate. Many privacy policies exceed these standards.

I wish there was a standard for privacy policies so companies can’t hide their sins behind jargon. In the mean time, I use this website.