Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TRUSTe Privacy Index Shows Online Privacy Policies Are Lengthy, Complicated and Reveal Alarming Trends

TRUSTe, Dec. 8, 2011

From the release: “In the 2011 Website Edition of its Privacy Index, TRUSTe analyzed the privacy policies of the top 100 U.S. websites (as ranked by Alexa Sept. 2011) to evaluate privacy practices by measuring key policy attributes, as well as the type of disclosures contained in them. TRUSTe found that while nearly 100 percent of websites today include a privacy policy, existing policies are highly complex, lengthy and written in language that is confusing for the average person to understand. Additionally, the vast majority of privacy policies are not readily transparent regarding third-party usage of data or consumer choices…. The 2011 Website Edition reveals that the typical privacy policy is written six grade levels higher than the average U.S. reading level of 8th grade (calculated per the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability Formula). In addition, at 2,464 words, the average privacy policy is almost twice as long as the Declaration of Independence and one and a half times as long as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech - taking approximately 10 minutes to read at a 250 wpm comprehension. Written in this complicated and lengthy form, most online privacy policies are not easily interpreted by the majority of consumers, limiting their understanding of how personal data will be used and the choices that are available to them.” Read more

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