PrivaCeee:

How to Protect Our Most Precious Asset

PrivaCeee: How to Protect Our Most Precious Asset

1024 576 Raymond Blijd

Read time: 4 min.

There I was at the dinner table, looking at my little diva shooting her latest Musica.ly music video. Pondering how to write my Privacy Policy in such a way she would a least give it a glance. Then I realize, she and millions like her will never read a legal document on the web…unless they could perhaps watch it like a music video.

Precious

I’ll admit, I never wanted to have a legal document on my site. It’s the most user unfriendly and universally ignored part of any service. Why would you write a document that nobody wants to read? Is there any way to design for legal that it can actually serve its purpose? More important: how do you protect the most vulnerable demographic on the web from squandering their most precious digital asset? According to “Growing Up Digital”, a report by the UK Children’s Commissioner: 0% of 8- to 11-year-olds understand what they sign when they join a social media site.

This has spurred several initiatives. From creating classes around 5Rights, an idea created by Beeban Kidron, a film director who said children’s online safety is “too vital to leave to the government.”. To a lawyer rewriting Instagram’s privacy policy so kids and parents can have a meaningful talk about privacy. All commendable efforts but I don’t think it would make a dent. The reality still is that it takes 2.3 seconds for an average (adult) consumer to accept terms of service and sign away the rights to their first born. This behavior is unlikely to be changed by any activist, government nor lawyer.

Asset

It’s obvious that companies are struggling. It seems they all need to vacuum every little nuance of our digital presence in order to provide their service. Evernote famously had to apologize for its privacy policy providing their robot and employees free reign on your notes. Musica.ly defended it’s handling of young users, as it raced past 40 million users. Security experts warned that Meitu, which is a free download on Google Play and the App Store, requires way more data from users’ phones than is necessary for a simple photo app. Even old trusted toy makers put our most vulnerable at risk. Hackers showed they could access location data about children and steal voice recordings of children through the app that connects to Hello Barbie.

However, 150 experts, that gathered on Data Privacy Day belief you will get control of your personal info. They trust capitalism to be the catalyst for companies to safeguard data. This may not be as naive as it sounds since studies show the stronger a user believes in having understood the privacy policy, the more he or she will trust the company. Making a strong transparent data protection policy and sticking to it may turn it into a company asset.

Now how do you create a credible company? I once read somewhere: “..With over a million prolific ‘writers’, the legal industry is the biggest publisher in the United States, eclipsing the entire media and print publishing industry, according to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics..”. I doubt we really need “more publishers” to draft unique descriptions of how companies handle user data. Especially, when you can automate it. Here are some generators that can:

Generators

Validators:

Other Legal Documents

Policy

Even though I tried some of the above generators, I still wasn’t satisfied with the output. While my little diva keeps generating more data and exposing more of her digital self, she will never be fully aware of what happens with her data. Worse, since she may not understand, she will never be in control. In order to protect her, I embarked on this journey: to design a way for everyone to stop and take notice of data protection and privacy policies.

First, your data protection policy is not supposed to be a tool lawyers use in court but rather a guide to make your consumer more comfortable with you. Therefore it should not be just text and can be more visual.

Second, only after reading the policy out loud did I become conscious of what I was actually asking for from site visitors. Making it more audible makes it more real.

Finally, not only by acknowledging it as the product owner but as a parent, it dawned on me that our Privacy is Priceless.

My plan: make a video to explain the Legalcomplex Privacy Policy to my little girl. As far as I know, it’s the only such video in existence on Youtube. My hope is more will follow and create Privacy Policy videos. If you do, let the world know by tweeting it to @PrivaCeee.

My plea: explain your data policy to our children. They are the future so watch it!

Protect

My daughter came to me last week showing me a message from one of her apps. It said that the app’s privacy policy had been updated. She looked at me: I know what this is! Is what we have been shooting the video for, right? I said: Yes. She didn’t read it but she did take notice.