privacychoice 2.0: the experiment continues

September 25, 2009

A principal mission of the privacychoice project is to make consumer privacy more understandable. When it comes to behavioral tracking, the biggest barrier to understandability is that the practice is largely invisible to consumers. Your actions may be logged and profiled as you use different websites, and you probably don’t know which companies are doing it or how they promise to handle your behavioral information.

The new version of aims to help close this information gap. Here’s what’s new:

  1. A visual tool that provides a tracking privacy scorecard for several hundred top websites, showing you summaries of selected tracker policies, highlighting those with concerns.homepage grab
  2. A new Firefox add-on called TrackerWatcher, which enables a consumer to see who’s tracking them on any site they visit, and to see the relevant policies and concerns in one place.
  3. A set of icons that correspond with five privacy practices that are important for consumers to understand: Anonymity, Sharing, Sensitivity, Deletion and Oversight.
  4. A redefined framework for our opt-out add-on, that allows either a complete opt-out (all networks that offer an opt-out) or an opt-out only on those networks with any special concerns in the five practice categories.

The privacychoice project is an experiment to see whether or not online privacy can be understood by consumers; whether complex principles can be reduced to their essence, abstracted and visualized; and whether disparate data sources, policies and processes can be aggregated in a sustainable way. I welcome your feedback and comments!


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