Read the Fine Print: Data Privacy Shouldn’t Require a Graduate Degree to Understand

Downloading and using web applications today more often than not requires users to agree to the terms of lengthy privacy policies that are full of legalese. Many consumers rarely take the time to thoroughly read these policies. If they do read them, they don’t understand what they are reading and agreeing to.

That’s not surprising considering the average length of privacy policies has increased from just over 1,000 words in the year 2000 to more than 4,000 words in 2021, according to a De Montfort University study by Dr. Isabel Wagner.

Another analysis of privacy policies found that over 60% of the policies examined were almost unreadable, with most requiring “at least a college-graduate reading level”. This research noted that most privacy policies are very vaguely worded, making it hard to determine what will happen to the data collected.

Today, enterprises collect a lot of data. Some of the consumer data collected includes:

  • Personal data –personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers and gender and other information such as IP address, web browser cookies and device IDs are types of personal data collected.
  • Behavioral data – transactional details such as purchase histories and product usage information are examples of this category of data.
  • Engagement data – this type of data tracks clicks and interactions with a business’s website, social media pages, emails, paid ads, mobile apps, and text messages.
  • Attitudinal data – consumer satisfaction and opinions on a product, brand or experience are types of data captured in this category.

The majority of consumers are concerned about the security of this data. A 2022 Ipsos poll found that only 34% of Americans think that companies adequately safeguard consumer data. When consumers lack trust in a company’s data collection and processing activities, they will act to safeguard their privacy. According to a survey conducted by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), over the past 12 months, 85% of consumers said they deleted a phone app, 82% opted out of sharing personal data, 78% avoided a particular website and 67% decided against making an online purchase due to privacy concerns.

Governments are also acting to safeguard consumer data privacy. A growing landscape of international, national and state laws are regulating the way companies collect, use and share data. Gartner predicts that by 2024, over 75% of the world’s population will have its personal information covered under modern privacy regulations.

To comply with these regulations and continue to build consumer trust, organizations must provide more transparency on how data is collected, used, stored and shared. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) addresses this transparency by requiring enterprises to provide clear notice of why data is being collected, the type of data collected, the legal justification for processing data, how long data will be kept, and who else might receive the data.

Along with evolving data privacy regulations like this, increasing cybercrime is also upping the ante on data privacy. So much so that organizations are making technology purchasing decisions based on data privacy. A Gartner Digital Markets survey found that data privacy has become an important differentiator for buyers, with 84% of businesses saying data privacy is the most valuable factor for them when buying software.

When it comes to mobile messaging technology, NetSfere’s powerful, secure mobile messaging communication and collaboration platform is the leader in data privacy and security. Our data privacy policy is easy to understand. No data is ever collected. It is as simple as that. When no data is collected, no data is at risk. That’s privacy by design and default.

In a world where data privacy and security risks are everywhere, a collaboration platform like NetSfere, built from the ground up with enterprise-grade security, encryption and control, can help organizations deliver on the growing imperative for data privacy and security.

Education and research firm TDWI sums up the importance of data privacy for enterprises today saying, “most consumers may not totally understand data privacy implications or read every word tucked in the fine print of every data privacy policy, but the vast majority do recognize that sharing personal information opens the door to a variety of threats -- and they expect the companies they do business with to mitigate those risks on their behalf.”

Take the data privacy and security risk out of your business communication and collaboration with NetSfere.

Contact us today to learn more.

Share This