Privacy notices are for customers. Not lawyers.

data protection Jul 12, 2021

Over the last few years I have spent some time getting annoyed about privacy notices (see video above).

It is now just frustrating.  You see, businesses all over the world seem to think they should publish a long-winded, hard-to-read "privacy policy" on their websites.  Few people read them, mainly because they simply can't be bothered to try.  The prospect of scrolling down the privacy policy page for hours at a time puts people off.

Which is a pity because a properly presented privacy notice (which is not a privacy policy) can be used to create and build trust with your customers.  You need trust if you're going to sell them anything at a worthwhile price.  Boring privacy policies just don't do it.

I have wondered just why senior business people and owners follow this itensely stupid behaviour - of publishing a difficult to read privacy policy, then hiding it at the foot of their website and doing their best not to attract attention to it.

Part of the answer may be in this article on the BBC website about an audio editing app called Audacity.

I won't go into the details about why the Audacity app has been accused of being spyware.  We used Audacity ourselves in the past and found it most useful.  This most recent story has been caused by some poorly written or thought through privacy information I suspect.

Anyway, the bit that caught my attention was this:

The director of strategy for Muse (the company which owns Audacity), Mr Ray, is quoted as saying that the Audacity privacy policy is,

"...written by lawyers, to be understood by lawyers rather than the average person."

A statement which will have data protection and information governance professionals holding their heads in their hands (again, see video above).

Mr Ray's take on this is wrong.  Not just a bit wrong.  It is very wrong.

Your privacy information needs to be understood by the average person.  The person who is entering into a contract with you.  They need to be informed.

Not their lawyer.

So please, when you're next looking at the privacy information on your website, spare a thought for the average person who may want to read it.  They are not lawyers, they are your husband, wife, partner, son, daughter or granny.

They are not stupid.  They need to be informed.  You need to inform them.

You.  Not your lawyer.


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