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Chapter 5. ONLINE DISCLOSURES AND THAT B... > What If I Don't Understand the Priva...

What If I Don't Understand the Privacy Policies?

Privacy policies can be hard to read. They can be very complex, especially for those sites that have many different ways of interacting with users. Skipping the policy is easy because it is too long or covers too many different cases, many of which is not relevant to you and everyone knows that. Some people think that sites that want to obscure their activities concoct needlessly complicated policies to discourage our understanding of their practices. There needs to be a better way to get this information, so we can make better choices.

The World Wide Web Consortium (http://www.w3c.org) has facilitated a team of people who have been working on the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) specification for nearly five years. The specification has a release candidate now, which means that the group is seeking implementations to find out whether the specification is close to meeting the stated goals or if it has to go back for more work. By the way, W3C is also the home of the specifications for the Web languages themselves (HTML, XML, and so on). A visit to their Web pages is interesting indeed for those of us fascinated by Internet technology.


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