In real time: privacy policies @ PET 2009

5 August 2009

I just sat thought the first session of PET2009, that was about privacy policies where two really interesting pieces of research were presented.

Ram presented a work on “Capturing Social Networking Privacy Preferences” [pdf], where he proposes to infer automatically privacy policies for social networks, and present them as templates or starting points for users to define their own policies. The methodology used is really neat: they record the location of a number of users, and every night they ask the users whether they would be happy to share their locations with different circles of theirs. Then they try to extract a set of standard policies, based on time, location, and the type of contact that can see your location.

The second study, presented by Aleecia, is on how easy and pleasing is to read privacy policies (“A Comparative Study of Online Privacy Policies and Formats“). They find that privacy policies in different formats are more or less easy to read and understand, but across the board privacy policies are difficult to understand, easy to misunderstand, and totally unpleasant to read.


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