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Privacy The Internet

20 Hours a Month Reading Privacy Policies 161

Posted by kdawson
from the half-the-bailout-every-year dept.
Barence sends word of research out of Carnegie Mellon University calling for changes in the way Web sites present privacy policies. The researchers, one of whom is an EFF board member, calculated how long it would take the average user to read through the privacy policies of the sites visited in a year. The answer: 200 hours, at a hypothetical cost to the US economy of $365 billion, more than half the financial bailout package. Every year. The researchers propose that, if the industry can't make privacy policies easier to read or skim, then federal intervention may be needed. This resulted in the predictable cry of outrage from online executives. Here's the study (PDF).
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20 Hours a Month Reading Privacy Policies

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  • by crow (16139) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:02AM (#25327863) Homepage Journal

    If there were a few standardized policies that most sites used, then users wouldn't need to read them. Like with software licenses, you don't bother to read the GPL for each time you install software that uses that license.

  • Perfect time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by speroni (1258316) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:05AM (#25327911) Homepage

    to implement my low cost IT Law firm. For a nominal fee we would certify websites and software. Don't want to read the EULA, just check with our firm for verification.

    We'd even specialize in defending the rights of netizens and downloaders.

    Online legal service for hire.

  • robots.txt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:07AM (#25327949) Homepage
    I'd like something simple and standardized: Yes you can re-use content No, it has to be attributed. No, you can't use our logo. blah blah blah etc. rights.txt Have the browser integrate it and have pretty little icons like creative commons does.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:08AM (#25327981) Homepage

    I can pretty much guarantee the Federal standard would be a nightmare.

    The worst of K street will have second crack at the legislation. The Cheney administration would have first crack at it and take another opportunity to sodomize legal history and Constitutional law. Both houses of Congress have more or less abdicated their responsibility in providing checks, so it gets Fugly fast.

  • by SleptThroughClass (1127287) on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:18AM (#25328097) Journal
    Even better, a tag could tell your browser which standard policy is being used. Tell your browser which policies you want to be accepted, and what action to take for sites with other policies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2008 @11:45AM (#25328411)

    http://www.w3.org/P3P/
    Already built inside IE and Firefox. Only problem is that very few websites use it.

  • Logicless Leap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:02PM (#25328631)

    The researchers propose that, if the industry can't make privacy policies easier to read or skim, then federal intervention may be needed.

    Why? Why should I need the federal government to get involved? At what point did I lose the power to choose to simply not use the service. If I don't have time to read the policy, then I can simply say no. It is only at the point that I no longer have a choice and that my rights are threatened that I need the federal government to step in and protect my rights.

    How did we become a society of people who believe that the only ones who can solve our problems are the government, worse, the federal government? Have we no self reliance anymore?

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