Social networking has become one of the world’s most influential platforms for linking people to one another. At the speed of our data connections, we prefer to jump in, register, and add friends and relationships.
But how many of us are paying attention to the protection and safety of the information that we share? The last time you were asked to enable to “access your personal information” by a social media site, did you allow it?
Banks, insurance agencies, weather apps, health care services, social media, and retail sites all request personal information and offer details about company privacy practices to clients and visitors.
The General Data Protection Regulation, a 2018 European Union data-privacy protection framework, mandates privacy policies to be presented in a “concise, transparent and intelligible form, using clear and plain language.”
More often than not, it’s the total opposite.
For example, almost all of Facebook’s most popular apps have been sharing information about users with advertising and analytics companies.
If a user clicks a particular ad on a website, Facebook will give advertisers the address of that page, which will lead directly to a profile page.
What Can You Do?
Suppose you have already given your email address and other personal information. In that case, you will receive promotional emails, in which privacy policies also appear at the bottom, much like the “unsubscribe” feature.
If you can’t find a policy, take a pause and mark it a red flag. If you are uncomfortable sharing your personal information with third parties for marketing purposes, browse through and check for possible opt-outs or helpful privacy settings after finding a policy.
For instance, if the policy specifies that data sent out to third parties can be used for advertising purposes, then you might predict your inbox to see a spike in spam.
We exist in a data-driven world. Every day, our information is stored, used, and sold by companies – mostly with our permission, often without us entirely realizing how.
It’s great to see transparency. Data privacy policies allow users to grasp better and manage the data they share. But they are only beneficial if they are easily understood and read by people.