Nobody Reads Privacy Policies

Facebook is not the only site that tracks, shares and sells your data. You allow it everytime you click through that agreement. When was the last time you actually read through the whole agreement before saying yes? Never? Well, apparently you are not alone.

According to a study done by SelectOut, most people do not read them. There is a reason why: They are too long. Take a look at the infographic below to see what the averages are for about 1000 of the top sites.

The longest privacy policies among the top 1,000 websites would take around 45 minutes to read. The average policy takes around 10 minutes to read.

And while most of the websites (72%) allow users to opt out of tracking mechanisms, around 40% require their users to take a few extra clicks to the Network Advertising Initiative’s website to opt out.

Should privacy policies and terms of service be short and sweet enough for users to actually read them, or do you think that would increase tracking opt-outs enough that it would hurt the companies in question?

Facebook Faces FTC Complaint

Privacy groups tell the Federal Trade Commission and Congress that the social network is violating consumer protection laws.

posted on InformationWeek by Alison Diana

May 7, 2010 10:49 AM

Fifteen privacy and consumer protection organizations — including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group — Wednesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and sent a letter to Congress that charges Facebook with engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of consumer protection law.”Facebook continues to manipulate the settings of users and its own privacy policy so that it can take personal information provided by users for a limited purpose and make it widely available for a commercial purpose,” said the complaint letter to Congress. “In fact, this complaint also speaks to a growing concern about the ability of the FTC to protect American consumers as new business practices emerge.”

The move came on the same day that Facebook temporarily shut down its chat feature after finding a security hole that enabled users see friends’ private instant messages.This latest salvo against Facebook’s privacy procedures claims that changes to user profile information and the subsequent disclosure of user data to other parties without users’ consent “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook’s own representations,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of complainant Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a statement.

The complaint asks the FTC to scrutinize Facebook’s privacy processes and to order the social networking site to better protect users’ information and communications against security breaches. In part, the move came about because of Facebook’s recent rollout of a feature that lets users tell members of their network about products and Web sites they like.

“Facebook now discloses personal information to the public that Facebook users previously restricted,” according to EPIC.

In April, Senators Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, Mark Begich, and Al Franken wrote to Facebook, voicing their concerns about “recent changes to the Facebook privacy policy and the use of personal data by third-party Web sites.” The impetus behind the letter: Facebook’s announced plan to disclose user data to Web sites without obtaining account holders’ permission.

“Previously, users had the ability to determine what information they chose to share and what information they wanted to keep private,” Schumer said in a statement.

Delete MySpace Account Day

Apparently today is the day to delete your MySpace account if you are fed up.

Here is the original BLOG that came up with the idea.

There is also a story on Wired.com

For those of you on Facebook, there is a group dedicated to a mass deletion.

I don’t know that I am going to join them…but I do hope that MySpace joins the open source community in response to the outrage. There are quite a few glitches and a heck of alot of spam that comes through the site.

I think that the biggest draw that keeps my friends and I at MySpace is that it is easier to post music there. Facebook has had the open application development for a while now…and nobody has created an app that really comes close to what the band pages on MySpace do.

Get on it, you developers out there!

There is a news story today that they will be more ‘Facebook-like’ by allowing outside agents to submit applications next week.

Let the world know what you think.