Daily Dashboard

Studies Find Privacy Policies Too Long, Complex

ONLINE PRIVACY

April 20, 2012

NPR's "All Tech Considered" highlights a study by Aleecia McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor of Carnegie Mellon University that found it would take people an average of 250 hours to read the privacy policies of the websites they visit in one year. While the Federal Trade Commission has explored ways to give web users more control over their online privacy, the complexity of privacy policies has many consenting to policies without reading them, says Cranor. Meanwhile, Shannon Wheatman, a plain language expert at Kinsella Media, told the Daily Dashboard that her recent study of Fortune 500 online privacy policies found that policies are written at or above a college level. "This is a big problem since only 28 percent of adults have a college degree," said Wheatman. Editor's Note: Wheatman's Plain Language Primer for Privacy Policies is available to IAPP members on the IAPP Knowledge Center.
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