A superficial comparison of privacy policies around the web by privacy service company TRUSTe has produced a few interesting statistics. Of course the most interesting bits are usually buried deep in the agreements and authorize things like the use of your child’s likeness for doll faces. Nothing sinister like that was discovered, but the standout stats should cause a bit of head-shaking.
And of course there’s the length of the policies, which like the average EULA exceeds the attention span of the average internet-goer by orders of magnitude. TRUSTe found the average length was 2464 words. That’s 200 words longer than my rant against SOPA, though to be fair the privacy policies are probably a lot more fun to read.
It’s not a new or original suggestion, but we really do need to take these enormous documents and reduce them to something intelligible to the average user. An analogous real-world situation, say a building that had a 2500-word behavior policy posted in small type near the door, wouldn’t stand up in court, though of course people are expected to adhere to simple posted regulations like “No Smoking” or “Employees must wash hands before leaving restroom.”