7 reasons why you should read privacy notices (Privacy Policies)
Michael Irene is a data and information governance practitioner based in London, United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, UK, and can be reached via email@example.com; twitter: @moshoke
December 19, 2022197 views0 comments
There are many privacy notices in the world located on various websites. Not a lot of people read them and there are good reasons for that. They are long, quite ambiguous, and laden with flowery fluffy marketing terminologies that would make any human brain squirm. Facebook’s privacy notice has about 5,000+ words, Twitter’s privacy notice contains about 5,000+ words, Spotify about 5,000 words, Snapchat about 4,000+ words. So, let’s do the maths. If you are one to use these apps daily, you would have to read about 20,000 words in a day, and which might take quite a considerable time to digest depending on comprehension levels. But why should you worry when you come across these notices? I give seven clear reasons why you should read privacy notices.
Be informed about how your data will be used.
It is very easy to assume that you know how your data will be used by a company. To assume is the first mistake to make. A good way to be informed about the business processes and what your information will be used for is to read the privacy notice of any company. It’s good practice to develop the habit — if you can’t read the entire piece, take a glance. Never assume.
Know how to manage your data
You will be passing information to the company. And processing comes in all forms — viewing, deleting, transfer — and these come with management schemas which companies must explain to you as a data subject. Checking it will arm you with enough information to know whether the company takes privacy seriously or when you’re pursuing a legal issue. As we say, privacy is serious business and if a company is not clear about their management methodologies, that is a pure sign that they wouldn’t treat your data well.
How to exercise your right
You have certain rights as a data subject. The company must, in their privacy notice, clearly state this and they should have ways you can exercise this. If you don’t see this one on the company site, then run. Don’t use or employ their services.
How can you make a complaint
One of the things that make data privacy regulations interesting is that data subjects can now make complaints about how their data is managed and companies are now obligated to publish how you can make complaints, either to the data protection team within the business or directly to the supervisory authority. A good privacy notice will make this clear.
How the company manages information security
Most companies tout this phrase “your privacy is important to us”. For you to verify, run to their information security statement, and at least, for your purpose, find out the steps they have in place to protect your information. You can’t or shouldn’t pass your information to any company that doesn’t pay attention to information security.
Which vendors will your information be passed to?
Sometimes, because you are in a hurry to browse the website, you are quick to accept the cookie notice or privacy notice, but don’t know what you’ve accepted. Sometimes you have implied consent for these companies to pass your information to third parties. Do you know them? Again, checking out the privacy notice should reveal this. Take your time to view this.
Ascertain if you can trust the company
Finally, reading the privacy notice, amongst other things, helps you ascertain if you can trust the company that would be processing your information. Much more than anything it shines a light on the foundations of their privacy methodologies and gives an intuition of how your data will be managed.
Reading the privacy notice or a well-crafted privacy notice does not equate or mean that a company will take your privacy seriously. It only informs you and with that you can make an informed decision about the company.
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