We live in an information economy. While many companies have privacy policies and/or terms and conditions on their websites governing how they collect and use personal information, such policies are typically poorly drafted, fail to convey important information, or are simply inaccurate. Class action suits have targeted dozens of companies for alleged failure to communicate what information they collect and why.
Website visitors typically provide information by typing it in the appropriate field and checking a consent box, or taking some similar step, but companies collect much more information without relying on the consumer’s help. Web analytics track consumers as they move from page to page within a site. Cookies store user histories and preferences as a file on the user’s browser. Third-party marketers mine for information about consumers habits. Even if the information gathered is not associated with a consumer’s name, privacy concerns may arise. So how can you be sure you’re sending clear messages about privacy and getting truly informed consent?