Policing the policies

02Jan13

Have you ever written a privacy policy for a website? I have. It’s more difficult than it looks.

No one ever bothers reading the privacy policy or the terms and conditions. They just click on the ‘accept’ box and say “yeah, yeah, whatevs…” So I thought I would try to write a privacy policy that people would want to read.

Many writers would just find a template or two and cut and paste sections to make their own policy. Lazy people would just copy someone else’s.

I read seven different privacy policies. I made notes of the key points that needed to be included. I looked up some of the legal details. I tried out some different ideas and styles.

My conclusion is that most people will not bother reading the privacy policy. Those who take the trouble just want to know that their personal data is being stored securely, will not be used without their permission and will never, ever be sold to spammers. They might want to know who to ask if they want to see a copy of their data and how to get it deleted. Some of them might be curious to know how much of their web browsing and email opening is being tracked. None of them will be very interested in the literary quality of the privacy policy itself.

I ended up cutting and pasting some paragraphs from a template.

Now the lawyers will have a look and ensure that all traces of originality are expunged.

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One Response to “Policing the policies”

  1. I seem to recall that the PP from http://www.thesixtyone.com was pretty good in terms of legibility and non-legalese


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