10 October 2015

Privacy Boilerplate

'Best Practices' in the Design of Privacy Disclosures: An Experimental Test' by Omri Ben-Shahar and Adam S. Chilton comments 
One of the primary goals of privacy regulations is to transform privacy disclosure into relevant, accessible, and clearer information aids for consumers. Laws, industry standards, and consumer groups have coalesced around a list of “best practice” guides that advocate several formal properties to be used in drafting privacy disclosure. But would such formal properties actually change behavior? This question has not been rigorously studied. We conducted a survey experiment designed to test whether altering the formal properties of privacy disclosures affects respondents’: (1) willingness to disclose personal information; (2) comprehension of the disclosure; and (3) understanding of their legal rights. Our results reveal that altering the formal properties of privacy disclosures have [no/a limited/a substantial] effect on the information respondents understanding, willingness to disclose information, or understanding of their rights.