Welcome to our guided tour of online privacy policies!

July 21st, 2009 by The Common Data Project

We’ve just published our report, “How to Read a Privacy Policy” on our website.  You may have seen some of the blog posts we wrote summarizing each section, but you can now find all the sections together here.

There are other privacy policy analyses out there: Privacy International’s 2007 report describing privacy practices of major companies in general and Know Privacy, a research project created by students from the UC Berkeley School of Information that compares user expectations with data collection methods today for policymakers and website operators.

But we thought there was room for one more, one that takes the web user on a guided tour of that inscrutable document, the online privacy policy, and explains what issues she should keep in mind.  We walk through the privacy policies of companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Amazon, as of June 2009, and explain what they’re promising and what they’re not.

A quick visual of how privacy policies stack up next to each other, literally. See it bigger.

Questions or comments?  Please let us know!

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6 Responses to “Welcome to our guided tour of online privacy policies!”

  1. Diane C. says:

    Very interesting visual there. Is there a significance to the white sections of each column?

  2. Mimi Yin says:

    Glad you liked it. The white is just the background color behind the text of each policy. :)

  3. Jim says:

    Here’s another comparison of privacy policies, for the top 10 ad networks (who collect behavioral information across many websites).

    http://www.privacychoice.net/site/TopTenAdNetworks

    This provides comparative summaries of policies on anonymity, data sharing, sensitive information and retention of data, as well as identifying whether the company is subject to any industry oversight.

    We have collected this information for nearly 200 ad networks and other tracking companies for those who are interested.

  4. [...] report is based around an ongoing series of posts on CDP’s My Place in the Crowd weblog. On one of these is an intriguing visual of how the various privacy policies “stack up next [...]

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