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All too often, privacy policies and other online terms are thick, dense, and hard to understand for an average consumer. As consumers have grown more conscious of what they’re signing -- or clicking -- away, there’s been pressure on companies to make these terms more easy-to-digest.
TIME recently teamed up with this really cool non-profit called the Center for Plain Language to rank privacy policies. The subjective “spirit” of their policies was also examined asking questions like, “Does the policy, for instance, make it easy for people to limit the ways in which the company collects their personal information? Are instructions about opting out obscured in the policy’s hinterlands with no hyperlinks?”
Companies were ranked on a scale of “readable to ridiculous.” And our team at PactSafe is loving every second of it. Since, you know, we’re all about anything regarding good online legal agreements here.
In 2010, there was a law designed called the Plain Writing Act to eliminate written bureaucratic BS that no one can understand. AKA: writing should be in comprehensible English, so that we the people can follow along at home. That’s what the Center for Plain Language does--they help businesses keep their public documents simple, and rip on those who don’t.
At this point, the birth of technology has made most users throw caution to the wind when it comes to sharing their personal information. While I am loving hanging out in the trust tree with everyone, it is still good for users to at least be conscious about what happens when information is shared.
So, PactSafe has already expressed that we think some companies’ privacy policies are really good, and some are really bad.
The good news: We haven’t been selling you short. TIME and the Center agree with us!
The bad news: The one’s that stink, still have allllll of your information. Bummer, I know.
BUT, this article is going to bring you up to speed on privacy policies as we break down which sites are doing it right, and which ones need to team up with Ice Cube and check themselves before they wreck themselves.
Even more importantly, your company’s integrity and credibility can be compromised in a court of law if your agreements are not enforceable. Someone will go there. They always do.
When considering your own documents, do you plead readable or ridiculous?
Want to dig deeper? Read the entire Center for Plain Language Privacy-Policy Analysis.