As today’s New York Times reports, we have launched PrivacyChoice Policymaker, a new service enabling mobile publishers to better and more easily communicate with their users about privacy. Through a ten-minute, step-by-step process, an app developer can now create a human-readable privacy statement which:
- Includes key mobile privacy terms,
- Provides notice of third-party data collection, and
- Looks great and is easy to use on mobile devices.
By hosting the disclosure, we make deployment simple and ensure that policies stay up to date as privacy practices and requirements evolve.
To see an example policy on your smartphone, click here.
Policymaker delivers on the PrivacyChoice mission to make privacy easier. It builds on what we’ve learned in managing privacy preferences for more than a million web users, analyzing over five hundred privacy policies, and developing the most robust database of third-party data collection practices available anywhere. Policymaker 1.0 reflects generous input from dozens of mobile application developers, industry privacy leaders, mobile ad companies and privacy specialists (to whom I am most grateful).
Policymaker also reflects two core beliefs about the future of online privacy:
1. The mobile transition is an opportunity to reinvent privacy disclosure.
On traditional websites, privacy policies tend to be difficult to read and understand. Privacy policies are typically written by lawyers and for lawyers, with no limitation on length and little attention to presentation or readability. The fact that so few users read privacy policies says more about the policies than it says about the people or how they value privacy.
Just as mobile devices have simplified how we use applications, so should they transform how we learn about privacy terms and choices. Hopefully, a better privacy experience on mobile apps will lead to better experiences across all kinds of computers and devices. Policymaker will, I hope, contribute to that transition.
2. Privacy disclosure defines privacy practice.
The Policymaker process provides not only the means to provide disclosure, but also detailed instruction on data practices that affect privacy. This provides a platform to educate developers about the practical requirements of their policies, and how to stay in line with best practices. In this way, Policymaker can beyond generating better privacy policies; it should also generate better privacy practices as well.