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Undergrad Project Offers Site Privacy Information At a Glance

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the go-no-go dept.

Privacy 61

An anonymous reader writes "Not everyone can read legalese. Websites ought to have clearer, more transparent, and simpler privacy policies. One important step in this direction is a simple way of summarizing a privacy policy's features, to make it easy to see how a website will use and protect user data. Inspired by Creative Commons and the Mozilla Privacy Icon Project, we (a group of Yale undergrads) have designed a set of icons, as well as simple descriptions, to describe common features of privacy policies. Additionally, we have built a generator to make it easy for websites to add these icons to their own sites. To further encourage awareness, we have reviewed several popular websites' privacy policies, so that users can see for themselves how they fare." True to their word, the examples show some tiny but nicely scannable icons.

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LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927041)

Niggers, niggers, niggers! I hate niggers!

Re:LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930149)

rofl love the trolls. so unnecessary hahaha

Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927075)

The rain was getting harder. It was now precisely 11:51 PM, and Mark was into his fifth beer. He was feeling pretty invincible but the night was young, and he intended to get wasted before it was all over. He had put in a rough week at work and he deserved it.

He lit another cigarette. He and his drinkin' buddies sat in their traditional circle, in Ian's apartment. The talk wandered from sex to work, back to sex, to basketball, finally settling on sex. Mark had eaten lunch at Taco Bell, and had drunk four cups of coffee between lunchtime and quitting. In addition, the beers were beginning to settle in. And now, at 11:51 PM, Mark had to take a shit. He stood up. "Shit break," he announced. It was customary among this group to make such an announcement.

Mark walked to the bathroom. As he locked the door behind him, thunder boomed. It was storming out there.

He pulled his pants down and sat on the toilet. Ian's bathroom was a mess. He counted five empty toilet paper rolls, two paperbacks, and yesterday's newspaper. His friends laughed about something. The lights flickered for a moment, and the pre-shit growl came from within. He could feel the product lined up inside him for disposal. Then, he began to push.

Plop. The first piece fell to the water. Then some movement, and Mark felt the main feature inside him, the mother lode. He grunted softly as he squeezed it out. It crackled past his sphincter, and splashed neatly into the bowl.

Then another one queued up, and came out. It was almost as big as its predecessor. Mark would have well-purged bowels tonight, he realized with a smirk. He heard thunder again, closer this time.

Another one? Jeez, he thought. When was my last shit? It ventured forth, Mark's muscles helping it out. It was the biggest one so far. The shit's passage through his anus, that rarest mix of pain and pleasure, was longer than any he could remember. Ahhhh...the stout log advanced with conviction. This was definitely going to be his finest creation; this was a huge one. Still grinning, he wondered if Ian had a camera.

He pushed. Peering between his legs, past his genitals, he saw that it had reached the water. This was like seeing the longest freight train ever. Damn, it was a wide one. And it was still attached! And there was more! He pushed more, harder. It kept coming. He couldn't even feel the end of this one yet; soon it was bending, folding on itself like a sundae topping. Mark stopped pushing and caught his breath. He was sweating; he realized that however long this piece of shit was, it wasn't nearly all the way out yet. He still couldn't feel the end.

He pushed, he strained, it kept coming. His intestines couldn't be that damn long, but this shit just wouldn't quit. In fact, he was feeling the diarrhoeal urgency of *having* to shit. He dutifully answered nature's call, and pushed harder. His efforts were rewarded with more shit. His sphincter was too strained to even pinch the loaf off. It was whole and complete.

He couldn't feel the end.

Fear now came to Mark. He flushed the toilet to make room for more. Even as the bowl refilled, the cramps rose up, and he pushed. Within seconds, the shit extended from his anus to bottom of the bowl. The harder he pushed, the more he had to shit. And it was getting worse. He scarcely had time to catch his breath; his face was quite red as he grunted and struggled to keep up. The shit seemed endless. He looked between his legs again, and gasped as he saw that the bowl was fully a quarter filled with his product, the water dangerously high. The tank wasn't even done filling, but he flushed again. Unfortunately, the plumbing was unable to handle the volume of feces, and the toilet backed up. Mark jumped when the cold water touched his buttocks.

It was now 11:57. Thunder roared outside as water and shit particles flowed onto the tile.

Mark's pants were bunched about his ankles, and he was in pain. The shit advanced relentlessly as he stumbled into the bathtub. He was almost panicking now, and didn't notice the trail of solid feces he had left. Gripping the tub for support, he squatted and kept pushing.

The conversation in the front room had stopped. Eddie smelled it first, and blamed a fart on Ian, but this was no fart. This was pure and concentrated; this was the smell that only the freshest shit can make. The four looked at each other, puzzled. Then they heard Mark's groaning from the bathroom.

"Mark, are you beating off again?" Doug asked. No answer.

The smell was worse. Brian sniffed deeply and gagged. "Jesus H. ...". Ian grimaced. "Goddamn...". They all went for the bathroom door at the same time. Ian jiggled the locked doorknob. Brian pounded on the door. "Dude, what the FUCK did you eat today?" No answer. Mark groaned. "You all right in there, Mark?"

They looked at each other again. Eddie sniffed and winced. There was no answer from inside. Brian knocked again. "Hey man, you OK?" No answer. A short scream came from within the bathroom.

Brian kicked the door open. Nobody spoke.

The odor was intense, feces was piled on the floor and in the bathtub. Mark was squatting next to the wall, his face impossibly red, his eyes helpless and terrified. Firm stool thrust forward from his anus like meat from a grinder. It landed in his pants bunched about his ankles, spilling over and piling up. He gritted his teeth and strained; all he could do was keep pushing. There was a sound like a ripping sheet and Mark's colon came loose from his now shapeless sphincter, oozing to the floor. His friends watched as the slimy organ descended, with shit still flowing from it. Mark screamed again, and somebody's watch beeped.

Brian got the worst of it, since he was closest to the door. He would later tell the police that he thought he had seen Mark's abdomen expand for an instant before it happened. None of the others had reported this. But they had all described the sound as a "dull thud", they had all been splattered with innards and feces as Mark's torso separated from the rest of his body.

"Massive gastrointestinal rupture/trauma secondary to indeterminate blockage" was noted in the medical examiner's report. An "unusually large amount of fecal matter" is also recorded, though the amount was not measured.

The funeral was closed-casket. Brian and Eddie seem to have recovered pretty well, though they never talk about Mark. Doug moved away, and nobody has heard from him lately. Sometimes, when he has to shit, Ian waits until the rain stops.

Accessibility? (4, Insightful)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927077)

Nice idea and I hope the implementation is well thought out -- designing pictograms that make sense to many cultures is difficult. The other usual concerns also apply -- speaking of which, one issue I see right off the bat is that they're using color as a sole designator in the icon set. For people with red/green color blindness, this makes the set of icons unusable for its intended purpose.

Re:Accessibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927167)

Agreed, Maybe a double ring for one of them rather than a color difference. That way it would work well on those mono e-ink displays and web browsers.

Re:Accessibility? (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927209)

Well... if they are clickable... or have a proper tag... Shouldn't be much of a problem.
Besides only 7% of the people have that, which means that 93% of the population that earlier couldn't make squash out of legalities, now can!
The glass is 50% full you see! :-)

With warm regards...

Re:Accessibility? (1)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927281)

It's definately a good start, and increasingly necessary as we approach the stage of needing a lawyer for every little transaction otherwise.

I think it is still in need of some further development though. As Justin pointed out there is the red/green colour blind issue, which could neatly be solved by using a circle with a line through, which is pretty widely accepted as a negation.

Also the first three icons - alert on changes, ability to export your data and only using the minimum required for functionality - are a little un-intuitive. That said, they are not exactly the easiest concepts to iconise

Circle-slash (prohibitory) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927499)

Yes, that's a common amateur mistake. The easy fix would be to use a prohibitory slash across the circle, like the "No Smoking" sign.

A better one would be to offer two or three columns: Things the site does, things the site doesn't do, and (possibly) Not Applicable, and have all sites distribute all the icons among the three columns, no exceptions.

Re:Circle-slash (prohibitory) (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928263)

Yup. This is privacy obfuscated, not "Privacy Simplified". If you're color blind, this is badly designed. And the examples have no "hover text", so you can't see what the icons actually mean without clicking on them.

Also, I noticed that in certain examples the text for the "red" and "green" compliance icons is identical. For example:

For example, Facebook (red compliance icon):
"This organization might provide your data to a government that asks for it without following the legally required process."

but Craigslist & Google (green compliance icon):
"This organization might provide your data to a government that asks for it without following the legally required process."

Ebay, Netflix, Pandora, & Spotify (green compliance icon):
"When an organization receives a phone call, letter, or other legally insufficient request for your data, they don't comply because the law requires the government to take additional steps before getting your data.
This website requires the government to comply, at a minimum, with the legal process provided by the law before getting users' data."

So, are Craigslist and Google supposed to be red? Or was somebody getting carried away with copy & paste?

Re:Circle-slash (prohibitory) (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929341)

If you're color blind OR using a device with a monochrome display (think e-ink like the Kindle Touch) then color alone will not convey any information.

Going with "hover text" is also the wrong approach with more and more devices like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch being touch-screens browsers.

Re:Circle-slash (prohibitory) (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929537)

Good point about the monochrome display. The "Hover" text thing is really a nit related to the examples, since it would almost certainly be done by web developers. However, it still does apply to tablets and other touch devices, since I understand that accessibility software (for example, screen readers) generally reads the alt text for images.

Re:Circle-slash (prohibitory) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39934369)

Hover text comes from the title attributes; screen readers read the alt attribute.

Re:Accessibility? (3, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928275)

Addition of a diagonal cross bar to the red circle should suffice and matches accepted international symbology.

Re:Accessibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930797)

That wouldn't fly at all. Take the circle with a person: if you make it a prohibition sign [wikipedia.org] , the only reasonable interpretation is "people prohibited". Similar for all the other symbols. A "no sharing" symbol would seem to signify "you/we cannot share data", the opposite of the intended message.

Re:Accessibility? (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39932569)

Or, they could add an up and down arrow. Up for good, down for bad. Unless we're talking about Roman Gladiatorial judgements I think that "Up arrow good, down arrow bad" is pretty universal.

Re:Accessibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928911)

There's a very large range between "dialect designed to be unpleasant to read" and "silly drawings that will require excessive explination until they are accepted." Personally, I prefer the "plain language" standard.

Here's an example of a "plain language" privacy statement (for a hypothetical social network):
"Everything you post and share on this site is as public as you make it. Targetted advertisement will use publicly shown information, random advertising will fill in the rest."

Well done! (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927117)

This is something that was needed for a looooooooong time. Bravo!
A simple bunch of icons that are easy to understand.
Just keep it like this, dont make any more, that will just dazzle people. Keep it simple and uniform, and with a good reference on-line so that it is easy to retrieve what something means.

P.S.
EU, have a look at this! This is how things should be done icon-wise...

Re:Well done! (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927299)

For example, it took me about 10 hours of non-stop research what that little square, with an even smaller diagonal square and 12M was doing on my shampoo.
It turned out to be a "PAO" sign. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Period-after-opening_symbol> (wikipedia)
So, if there is no reference to a symbol it is just that... a question-mark-invoking doodle.

Re:Well done! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929615)

It took 10 hours to type:
        shampoo 12M
into google?

Re:Well done! (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#39936107)

Why was parent modded down? I too am someone who has I hard time deriving meaning from a subjective pictograph. Sure , they can be recognized quickly once familiar, but i don't think it is an efficient way to convey information to someone who is not already familiar with it. Regardless, a disagreement of opinion is not grounds for a negative mod... but what do i know, I have a 5 million digit ID, or something like that.

They're worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927169)

In my not-so-humble opinion, my take on the Mozilla icons is more clear: http://arka.foi.hr/~lmarcetic/pic/privacy/ [arka.foi.hr]

Re:They're worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927491)

Yes - the data going to the checkbox is totally clear. Green checks are good, and I certainly don't want a shady question mark getting my data.

Re:They're worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986163)

Here are the alternatives:

Mozilla's (these I wanted to improve. Note that they have explanations underneath):
https://img.skitch.com/20101222-nt2a3s3bkft4n8si81trwq6ww.png [skitch.com]
https://img.skitch.com/20101222-8my23a7krc7xjppphnn6xtdyqy.png [skitch.com]

And, Yale's from the above link (in my opinion, worse):
http://yale.edu/self/privacy64/2control1.jpg [yale.edu]
http://yale.edu/self/privacy64/2control0.jpg [yale.edu]

I hope mine are at least more clear than those. That's not to say they're ultimate clarity in pictography. Improvements are always welcome.

Re:They're worse (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928689)

I hate it when my papers are available to cross walk guards.

Legalese Parser (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927237)

I thought this was going to be about a parser that processes the legalese and summarizes it into a couple of icons. Now that would be worth looking at.

A concern... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927267)

I do like the idea of presenting privacy-relevant variables in a concise format; but I have to wonder if that would actually attack the problem usefully...

It seems that(barring the institutionally incompetent, who usually get weeded out unless firmly entrenched in some other industry and just shoving a pseudopod into the web) people are usually pretty good at making obvious on their website whatever they wish to be obvious to the user. Privacy policies are generally made non-obvious, and written to be as incomprehensible as they are mandatory.

This suggests, as does the general miasma of boilerplate evil and overreaching claims generally embedded within, that the privacy policies are largely invisible by design. Icons aren't going to solve that problem.

Potentially worse, icons that allow for the slightest weasel-wording, or which simply aren't construed to imply any meaningfully binding promise on the site operator's behalf, can simply be used to lie more easily and reassuringly.

Facebook (1)

dbialac (320955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927363)

I think this needs some work. Claiming Facebook doesn't collect information not necessary for the transaction? Isn't this the same company that is well known for raiding peoples contact lists and location data on smart phones? Meanwhile craigslist collects too much information? They only ask for your email address these days!

Re:Facebook (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928771)

I think this needs some work. Claiming Facebook doesn't collect information not necessary for the transaction?

Weasel Words says: Define "Facebook transaction."

Re:Facebook (1)

dbialac (320955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930691)

> Define "Facebook transaction"

Posting status updates to my friends. Posting messages to my friends. Finding my friends via information that I choose to divulge.

Re:Facebook (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39931077)

Sorry for the confusion, allow me to rephrase:

How does Facebook define "transaction?"

If you can answer that, you should be able to figure out what information they consider 'necessary.'

need to work on this a bit more (1)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927423)

As they point out in their faq, companies may not reliably use the bad ones. That leaves it unclear whether a statement doesn't apply (e.g., no facility is provided to access and export your data because none is collected), or whether someone is just refusing to disclose whether the statement is true or not. An icon indicating that a policy statement doesn't apply would help clarify that distinction.

Also, I'm not sure what the icon for indicating the site alerts you to policy changes implies...is posting a notice on the website sufficient (for how long? does it need a history?), or is it supposed to mean that direct contact (an email) will be made?

Re:need to work on this a bit more (1)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928093)

Yes, a greyed-out "not applicable" version would be useful.

Re:need to work on this a bit more (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929841)

It would be nice if each icon came with an appropriate legal paragraph, concisely written but legally valid. Then grant the rights to use those icons only to sites that have the exact corresponding legal paragraph in their data privacy statement. That way, purveyors of web services can cobble together their own privacy statement from those standardised components, covering their needs and wants in legally correct but readable terms, and accompanied by well known icons that gives visitors the contents of the underlying privacy statement at a glance.

Of course, some sites want anything but a legible privacy statement, but there are plenty of sites who do not mind being up front about what they do with your data.

Re:need to work on this a bit more (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930315)

It would be nice if each icon came with an appropriate legal paragraph, concisely written but legally valid

Actually, the Mozilla privacy icons project [mozilla.org] aims to do just that. Strange, the Privacy Simplified website links to the Mozilla initiative... which makes me wonder what they hope to do better.

Non-obvious? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927573)

I had to look at the key to understand these icons. I know these are hard concepts to encapsulate in an icon, but some alt-text would have really helped.

color-blinds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927697)

Just using colors to differentiate between values isn't really the best idea.
Add something more, so that it becomes obvious even without the colors.

Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927765)

A symbol that lets you know whether they will let you block your account from the provided services immediately upon request of the account holder and honor the policies in place at the time the information was originally collected.

Posting any policy changes to a centralized governmental website so they can be held accountable for what policies they have in place at which dates.

Nice idea for Google to implement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927779)

This would be useful data for Google to add in to search results

This FP 7or GNAA. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927839)

tro0ble. It may be hurting tvhe

Don't work in monochrome, for colour-blind users (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928405)

I'm not knocking the idea - it's a good one - but the icons as shown on the sample page differentiate 'good' from 'bad' icons only by the colour of the surrounding ring. That means that if displayed on a monochroms screen (think e-ink displays, or printout), or viewed by a colour-blind user, the information content is totally lost - at worst they could be actively misleading. Far better if the 'bad' icons had a triangular frame as well as a red border, as with 'warning' road signs, and 'good' icons remained circular and possibly got a non-white background.

Massive fail (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928419)

These are so badly done... Opaque (in meaning) icons, no hover text on the examples, and many of the icons (especially on the 'negative' side) represent user opinions rather than descriptive statements of fact that reflect real life TOS's. (And also ignorant of the non-binary nature of at least one option.)

Re:Massive fail (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928827)

These are so badly done...

Yea, the icons you came up with are waaaay better...

Oh, wait...

Re:Massive fail (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39932019)

That I can't do better doesn't mean I can't recognize when they're done badly.

Re:Massive fail (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39932359)

That I can't do better doesn't mean I can't recognize when they're done badly.

Perhaps, but it's not like that's some special power that only you possess; opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one, and most of them smell like shit. Few people have the intellect/creativity/hojos/etc to actually do something about it other than bitch. In the words of John Mason Brown,

“The critic is a man who prefers the indolence of opinion to the trials of action.”

Point being, pissing and moaning about the shortcomings of others does nothing to better the situation, so why engage in such pointless negativity, other than to hear the sound of your own voice? Here's a thought - instead of droning on about how you think they've done it wrong, try giving your idea of how to do it right.

You know, constructive criticism.

Re:Massive fail (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39932545)

You know, constructive criticism.

"Constructive criticism" is a term invented to deflect actual criticism by denying it's validity. It's a touchy-feely term that allows those being criticized to ignore actual criticism. It's bullshit I don't buy into.
 

Here's a thought - instead of droning on about how you think they've done it wrong, try giving your idea of how to do it right.

There's sufficient information in my critique to allow anyone with an IQ above room temperature to derive the flaws and see what corrective action is required. No further action on my part is required.
 

it's not like that's some special power that only you possess; opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one, and most of them smell like shit. Few people have the intellect/creativity/hojos/etc to actually do something about it other than bitch.

Just because you're ignorant, doesn't mean other people are. That you can't recognize the difference between a valid critique and mere "bitching" is your own failure.
 

Point being, pissing and moaning about the shortcomings of others does nothing to better the situation, so why engage in such pointless negativity, other than to hear the sound of your own voice?

This from you? You really are a piece of work indeed. You honestly think I that only to hear the sound of my own voice? You're even more ignorant than I believed.

Re:Massive fail (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39934291)

You know, constructive criticism.

"Constructive criticism" is a term invented to deflect actual criticism by denying it's validity. It's a touchy-feely term that allows those being criticized to ignore actual criticism. It's bullshit I don't buy into.

Actually, it's the difference between, "That's a stupid idea," and "That's a stupid idea, let me help you make it better." You can try and write it off as "touchy-feely" socialism, or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact you're coming across as an idea-less asshole with nothing better to do than bitch about other people's work.

Here's a thought - instead of droning on about how you think they've done it wrong, try giving your idea of how to do it right.

There's sufficient information in my critique to allow anyone with an IQ above room temperature to derive the flaws and see what corrective action is required.

... which is apparently beyond your own reasoning capabilities? I don't buy that shit for a second, yo.

it's not like that's some special power that only you possess; opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one, and most of them smell like shit. Few people have the intellect/creativity/hojos/etc to actually do something about it other than bitch.

Just because you're ignorant, doesn't mean other people are. That you can't recognize the difference between a valid critique and mere "bitching" is your own failure.

Personal attacks and strawmen get you nowhere with me, dude. Besides, the only reason you find your critique to be valid is because it's your critique... which is quite ironic, if you think about it, since here you are attacking me for doing the same thing to you that you've done to others. Hypocritical much?

Point being, pissing and moaning about the shortcomings of others does nothing to better the situation, so why engage in such pointless negativity, other than to hear the sound of your own voice?

This from you? You really are a piece of work indeed. You honestly think I that only to hear the sound of my own voice? You're even more ignorant than I believed.

Aww, tiny baby get his butt hurt by someone else's criticism? Well, let me pull out my 20nm violin, so I can play you the saddest song in the world...

The lessons for you to take from this are - criticism is nothing but egotism unless you're offering valid alternatives, and of course, don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Not wanted by those who count (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928503)

Nice idea. The problem is that is solves a problem that doesn't want to be solved.

The people who provide these websites have no interest in making their privacy policy easy to understand. If they did, there's a danger that users might read it, and if they read it, they might find something they dislike, and if they find something they dislike, they might not sign up to the service.

This is a much less desirable outcome than users continuing to agree to anything the privacy policy says without reading it.

Another Approach (3, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928601)

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this source in any way; just a very satisfied user.

Check out the free EULAlyzer which can be downloaded from: [javacoolsoftware.com] EULA Research Center [eularesearchcenter.com] . EULAlyzer works on Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and 7.

Example: I took a look at the Privacy Policy for /. which is located at: Geeknet Privacy Policy [geek.net] . "(Last Updated February 29, 2012) (Effective Date May 24, 2008)"

EULAyzer summarized as:

"Details: The license agreement above has a high calculated Interest ID. It's rather long, and there were a high number of detected 'interesting' words and phrases."

The "Flagged Text" Called out the following, each of which can be expanded:

  • Advertising
  • Privacy: ID Number
  • Privacy: Web Bugs
  • Promotional Messages
  • Third Party
  • Web Site Address
  • Without Notice

Each of these are expandable. Each expanded item provides an "Interest Level" graph and a link to its place in the License Agreement Text.

PS: I've lurked on /. since before there even were UID numbers, but privacy concerns delayed my signing up. I'm quite frankly surprised at how extensive the policy is and that just shows me how much has changed since the olden days. I should probably check other on-line site's policies to see what's new there, too.

Re:Another Approach (1)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929815)

This is exactly what I've been looking for!

Something to parse the legalese and give me a simplified version.

Google Already Miscategorized? (1)

MailtoDelete (863627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928703)

Why do the examples show the wrong "Information" color for Google? The description for the information collection category says that Google " might collect and use more information than is strictly necessary" (no doubt in my mind there). So why is the icon in the example green, meaning Google "collects and uses enough data to provide any necessary services"? If the examples are not even reliable, what hope does this system of icons have?

yu0 Fail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928781)

Reasonable idea, but not ready for prime time. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928887)

Take a look at their ratings of major sites. [yale.edu] That's a simple feature comparison checklist chart, but hard to read. Graphically, all the info is conveyed with colors only, which is awful. From a graphical standpoint, the icons are non-obvious. The picture of a human in a circle means "you can view and export your personal data". From a data collection standpoint, everything is either self-reported or manually set for major web sites, so there's a scaling problem. From an accuracy standpoint, Facebook has "will alert you to material changes" and "you can access all of your data" set to True, which is somewhat questionable given Facebook's history in those areas.

Compare "The evolution of privacy on Facebook" [mattmckeon.com] Now that's an excellent, and original, graphical representation of Facebook's privacy issues.

Presenting detailed information with multiple icons creates confusing visual clutter. Here's the chart for the international standard fabric care icons [textileaffairs.com] found on clothing labels.A liquid-filled cup with two dots and an underline means "Machine wash, warm, permanent press". A triangle with two diagonal lines means "Bleach with non-chlorine bleach as needed". Did you know that? It's on most garments.

We've struggled with this problem for SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] We collect information about the business behind a web site, and present it to the user through browser add-ons. Doing this both concisely and effectively is tough. Right now, we have red, yellow, and green icons, with "do not enter", question mark, and checkmark graphics. We're about to launch a new system which brings up a small "dog tag" on link mousover, with information about the business. The dog tag uses text, not icons.

mo3 dowPn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39929135)

future. The hand and sold in the Users. BSD/OS shower Don't just iirecovera3le area. It is the

Great. MORE inscrutable icons. (1)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929257)

The average web site is now loaded with buttons and icons whose meaning is obvious...once you know their meaning. (Look at this one, for example.) Adding still more is not forward progress.

I think it's a useful exercise for all web designers to attempt to use their sites in text-only browsers. Not only does this give at least some appreciation for the difficulties of handicapped users, but it tends to highlight problems that affect all users. It strips away all the eye candy and leaves only the skeleton of basic function -- and sometimes that function isn't very good. I'm not just talking about navigation (although that's often an issue) but communication: is it obvious INSTANTLY to someone what the site is trying to tell them? Or is the site using some cute and idiosyncratic mechanism that everyone involved thinks is great...but which leaves users with "huh?".

Bitwise negation (1)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929489)

Lol, is it only me, or Spotify = ~Wikipedia?

FOG (1)

thurmanukyalur (2478460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929699)

I have tried running several well known privacy policies, such as Google's and Facebook's through the online Gunning-Fog Index (GFI) calculator at http://gunning-fog-index.com/ [gunning-fog-index.com] . The program said that you need to be in 15th grade in order to follow those policies. This post, by the way has a GFI of 9.733.

Facebook icon should be (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929905)

A naked man, doggy style, screaming, DO IT, DO IT, HERE, TAKE MY MONEY (ops, that was Apple :D )

Take the next step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39932149)

I think the next step is to have the browser (or JavaScript) check the website's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for changes since the last visit and have the browser or whatever popup a little notification that the legal obligations of the site have changed. This information could be stored in a database and queried whenever a user visits that website for the last update time. The database access would have to be anonymized because you could track users via IP address as they query the database, or it would make sense to have the database run by Mozilla (because you implicitly trust their browser to not spy on you to begin with). Alternatively, the browser/JS could scan the ToS/PP itself for changes and store the last version (or a hash of the last version) for the privacy paranoid.

Also, doing this for all cookies that get set when visiting a website, so users know exactly who is collecting their information and what those people/companies can/are doing with it.

Thanks for all the hard work though!

VGoat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39932543)

house... pathetic. at my free7anc3 community at

I designed some back in 2008 (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39934381)

I thout-off and designed such icons back in 2008

My version is modular, account for color-blindness and can render B&W over white, black or any coloured background..

I released them by-nc-sa
http://www.noiraude.net/notracking/notracking.svg [noiraude.net]

Boolean questions don't work well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39938993)

I tried to fill out the questions, but kept coming up with an answer of "maybe".

"Do you provide users with the ability to access and export their data?"
Access: Yes. Export: No. It's accessible to them (and most publicly accessible), but no specific export tool exists.

"Do you encrypt user data?"
Only passwords. Really, encrypting anything else is pretty much moot because other than the email address (optionally) it's pretty much all public. Anyway, any hack is most likely to come in through the front end which would need the encryption keys anyway.

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