How to Efficiently Read a Privacy Policy

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How to Efficiently Read a Privacy Policy

Few people regularly do, and no surprise. The typical privacy policy is about 2,500 words — roughly a 10-minute read — sometimes, with enough legalese to make Perry Mason wince.

Considering the typical American visits nearly 1,500 websites a year — each with a different privacy policy — it would take about 250 hours to completely read each, estimate Carnegie Mellon researchers. Just skimming all those privacy policies would take about 154 hours, nearly a full week of nonstop reading.

A privacy policy is a statement or legal disclosure that details how the website gathers, uses, manages and shares its customers’ information: what personal or financial data is collected, why it’s collected and what is done with it. This information could be your name and email address, credit card account, shopping or searching habits, even a compete dossier of your smartphone use.

While reading those privacy policies may not be fun, they can be important. Some tips to tackle them without overtaxing your brain or time, according to the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin:

1. A privacy policy should answer these six questions, says Center for Identity researcher Rachel German:

  • Is your data used for secondary use, meaning a reason other than that for which you are explicitly providing it?
  • Is your data shared with third parties? If so, does it specify for what purposes? (For example, it’s often a red flag if the policy states that data sent to third parties is used to deliver ads; that could equal a lot of spam in your inbox.)
  • What are the terms for sharing your data with the government and with law enforcement?
  • Is your data protected in all phases of collection and storage?
  • Does the service allow you to delete your data?
  • Does the service use your data to build and save a profile for non-primary use?

2. To hone on answers to those specific questions, German recommends using the manual search or “find” option on your browser to find key phrases. She suggests phrases such as “email,” “marketing,” “arbitration,” “waive” or “waiver,” “third-party,” “affiliate(s),” and “opt-out.” Also search the policy for any words and phrases in boldface or all UPPERCASE. Those tend to be important disclosures.

3. Consider an add-on to do the legwork. Released by the Center for Identity, PrivacyCheck is a free extension for Google Chrome that uses a data mining algorithm to provide a graphical, “at-a-glance” look at the ways in which companies use their customers’ personal data. Other companies offer enrollment-based services that search privacy policies and highlight pertinent information.

Read full article and learn more about Privacy Policy here.

Here’s How To Make Sure You, Your Business & Website Is FTC Compliant

By now it should be clear how important it is for you to be FTC compliant. But how can you do that without spending $7,500-$8,000 or more on Internet Attorneys?

Smart business owners around the world are doing it with the help ofFTC Guardian.

FTC Guardian is a service that is 100% focused on helping to keep you get and stay FTC compliant and fully protected. And right now, we are offering a free training to give you the knowledge, information, and guidance that you need to stay out of trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.

The training is titled: 3 Tragic (Legal) Privacy Policy List Building Mistakes That Can Get You In Hot Water With The FTC Today – Resulting In Your Business Being Shut Down… And How To Solve It!

Here are some of the things you’ll discover on the training:

  • Real-Life Examples of People Who Didn’t Think They Were At Risk, But Who Got Nailed By The FTC, And Why It Could Happen To You, Too
  • The 3 Enormous Powers The FTC Has That Can Change Your Life – And Your Family’s Life – Forever!
  • How to Avoid FTC Claims When Collecting Leads With Optin Forms
  • 3 Privacy Policy Mistakes Every Digital Marketer Is Making, And Why You’re In The FTC Crosshairs.
  • And Much More…

Remember: legal protection is a massively important part of your business, and it’s one you cannot afford to ignore any longer.

Go here to register for our next FREE training and make your business is FTC compliant today!

Disclaimer:  This article is provided for informational purposes only. It’s not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created. Neither the author nor FTC Guardian, Inc. is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission.

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