Who Tracks What? Don't Skip Privacy Policies

Who Tracks What? Don't Skip Privacy Policies

This post gives you an insight why you shouldn’t skip scanning through Privacy Policies and what you should look for. This list sums up the most important topics to check:

– What kind of data does your service provider collect and how do they use it?

– Who owns the data you upload to your account?

– Who has access to the uploaded content?

– Can you control who can access your content?

– Are there any third party reviews on the privacy policy?

Minimizing online footprint

When Google introduced it’s new, unified privacy policy for the 60 free services the company managed at that time, many have raised concerns.

“The investigation shows that Google does not properly inform users which personal data the company collects and combines, and for what purposes,” it said. By doing this, Google “spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent,” reported the PCWorld.

It is not about turning all Google related services off. But getting a clearer image of the extent of data collection and how the company uses it allows you to find workarounds.

Data ownership – rights and control

When it comes to storing and sharing data, the issue of data ownership instantly emerges. You may remember when National Geographic and the performer Pink suspended their Instagram account because of its new proposal, that pictures uploaded by users will belong to the company.

Controlling access to your content in case of cloud based solutions is also an interesting issue. For example Dropbox claims that “We have strict policy and technical access controls that prohibit employee access…” Taking a closer look on the company’s current Privacy Policy at the “With Whom” section you can find that “Dropbox uses certain trusted third parties … These third parties will access your information only to perform tasks on our behalf …”.

Privacy policies should create trust

Privacy policies should serve as a source of information for users and are created to protect privacy. For example TRUSTe is an independent organization who powers trust by ensuring businesses adhere to best practices regarding the collection and use of personal information on their websites and apps. Tresorit has received TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal signifying that its privacy policy and practices have been reviewed for compliance with the TRUSTe program.

There are many examples how companies use data to profile their users and we believe that as long as it benefits the user as well it can be justifiable – to a certain extent. At the same time your privacy is not tradeable and privacy policies should respect and support that idea.

Do you read Privacy Policies? Did we miss something from the checklist? Tell us! We are currently working on our blog, so the discussion is moved to our social channels. Let’s be friends on Facebook or Twitter!