Final Project: YourPrivaSee – by “Misbah U”

Perhaps the most important role in both analyzing the present and crafting out a future for privacy policies lie in determining where social norms for privacy stand. Clear objective norms create a community where service providers and service receivers can establish clear, mutually beneficial relationships.

Much of what we understand about norms comes to us subconsciously–things simply ‘seem’ as though they should be a certain way. While this usually serves its purpose rather well, our norms don’t function so hotly when our social environment is in flux or drastic change. The amount of change we’ve all seen within our own lifetimes is staggering, in terms both technological and otherwise. As far as privacy goes, this transition is not one that has favored the interests of the average citizen.

To combat this, users must become consciously aware of how their old norms function in a new environment – that is the goal of YourPrivaSee.info! Privacy policies are often long, drawn-out and intended to mislead. In fact, one recent study found that to simply read every privacy policy encountered on a daily basis, it would take approximately 30 workdays per year. With YourPrivaSee we wanted to see how a diverse group, of varying levels of age and education, would respond to certain Privacy Policy terms if they were presented separated from the policy as a whole, observing generational trends all along the way.

The project serves the dual function of informing users and data-collecting companies about privacy norms and of making privacy policies as they exist now more transparent and comprehensible. We hope you enjoy it!
Please feel free to comment and add to the discussion, a healthy dialogue is the best way to nurture general understanding of privacy.

Visit the website here: YourPrivaSee.info

Thanks!

Misbah Uraizee, Vlad Chituc, and Colby Brown

What Your Web History Says About You – by “Will P”

I’ve written a Chrome extension (Download) that has a little fun with your web history.  The plugin will attempt to guess four websites that it thinks you are likely to visit next.  It does this with the aid of your web history.

Below, the plugin thinks that from my Gmail inbox, I’m likely to visit:

1.  This app on the Chrome web store

2.  This Yale Law & Technology site

3.  Facebook

4.  Add a payment method to your Google account

As you can see, the plugin is influenced both by recent activity and larger trends (e.g. Facebook has been visited 7253 times).

You should try it — it’s quite quick to download.

Final Project: Privacy, Simplified – by “MNQ”

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.

Enter Privacy Simplified.

Inspired by Creative Commons and the Mozilla Privacy Icon Project, for our final project we 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, including Google, Facebook, Spotify, Netflix, and even Yale, among others.

We hope that this will prove useful, and both empower users to really think about the kinds of services they use, as well as encourage the development of a Creative Commons-like standard for describing privacy features, confusions, and pitfalls.

Thanks,
Paulina Haduong
Machisté N. Quintana
Anthony Tordillos

 

UPDATE: Featured on Boing Boing, Macleans, the Creative Commons wiki, and the Yale Facebook page! This is all unexpected, but awesome.