This Tool Reads Privacy Policies For You

Pribot, an AI-powered analysis service, created a tool called Polisis that uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to create an easy to read summary of any online privacy policy. Pribot originally launched a chat bot that crawled privacy policies and then presented smaller (and easier to understand) snippets of information to the user. Polisis provides users with a different way of “reading” privacy policies.

What Does Polisis Do?

Polisis crawls any web page and can find the sites privacy policy, if it’s published on the site. It then assembles the data from the policy into a graphic representation.

Do You Read Privacy Policies?

If you always read the privacy policy of each website you visit, and each service you sign up for, pat yourself on the back. Most people, though, don’t even think about reading these documents, which are often extremely long, complicated and hard to read. One survey published in Adweek said “only 17.56 percent of people ‘always’ read the terms of service when signing up to a social network.

“Of the users who don’t read the ToS before agreeing, 53.10 percent say there is no point because you need to ‘agree’ to sign up, even if you disagree with the content of the terms. 36.72 percent say it takes too long to read the terms, which is a great argument for simpler terms documents. The rest find the language complicated, they don’t care, or they can’t find the ToS.”

Privacy Policies Fail To Accomplish Their Goal

The purpose of privacy policies is to inform users of how their data is collected, stored, and shared by the service they are using. However, if these are so complicated that the average user can’t understand what is being claimed, they are useless. So few users actually reading these documents indicates that people would rather skip the 15 minutes it would take to read information use policies than know how their data is used.

Pribot Works to Solve This Problem

Maybe if the documents explaining how our data is used weren’t so complicated, people would actually read them. Pribot helps break down privacy policies into some key questions about data collection and sharing. It puts it in a user-friendly visual format that people may actually look at. It breaks the policy down into “Types of Info They Collect”, “For What Reasons?” and “What Options Do They Give?”

One clear issue with privacy policies and many websites is that in most cases to use the service, users must opt in to the terms of the services. There are rarely options for users who would prefer to selectively opt in to some parts of the policies while skipping others. This issue goes beyond just policies and terms of service. Users aren’t given the power to control their data and who has access to it, except in rare cases.

The internet community needs to work to create a private, and neutral internet that empowers users rather than forces them to hand over their information. An internet that makes privacy the norm, rather than a “bonus feature” will offer better user-experiences.