[Which, ICYMI, LDH will be exhibiting at Annual! Let us know if you want to meet up and talk about all things privacy and libraries!]
As we encountered last week, privacy policies are not the most exciting documents to read. In fact, you can test out this theory by checking out the impressive list of electronic resource vendor privacy policies generated by the folks at York University (the code is available on GitHub). Try picking out a couple of privacy policies and read them from start to finish now. We’ll be here waiting for you.
……. all done?
Chances are, you probably found yourself skimming the policies if you made it all the way to the bottom. If so, you’re not alone – studies have shown that the majority of folks do not read these policies, which could lead to surprises and confusion when your data is collected, shared, or breached. The fact is that it takes a long time to get through long, detailed documents – a recent study showed that many privacy policies require a high reading level and up to around a half hour to read. What’s a busy person to do?
For Polisis’ analysis of OverDrive’s policy, the site takes the same ten categories and creates separate visualizations for most of them. Users can click on a stream to highlight it in the diagram – for example, showing what information is shared and for what reason.
We are still a ways away before widespread adoption of AI-annotated privacy policies; however, the possibilities are promising. With GDPR, CCPA, and other upcoming privacy regulations, AI and ML could help end users in keeping up with all the changes in policies, as well as dig through mountains of text in a fraction of the time it would have taken to manually read all of the text. It will still take a considerable human role in training the AI and supervising the ML to ensure proper analysis, though, as well as human labor in creating effective and accessible interfaces. Perhaps one day there could be an API service that can have AI analyze the privacy policies listed on the York University page.