Techdirt Podcast Episode 41: Privacy Policies Have Nothing To Do With Privacy

from the let's get rid of them dept

Privacy policies are ubiquitous online, and often required by law, but what are they really for? People don’t read them, and when they do, they have a tendency to misunderstand them — such as with the recent flare-up over poorly-contextualized changes to Spotify’s policy. Plus, there’s a built-in incentive for companies to write their policies as broadly as possible to avoid accidentally violating them, further stripping them of all purpose. This week, we discuss a simple question: are privacy policies an altogether stupid idea?

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: spotify

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 41: Privacy Policies Have Nothing To Do With Privacy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Mason Wheelersays:

I find the “Nike shoes ad” thing–and many very similar incarnations of targeted advertising, such as books and movies–particularly stupid. If I just bought some goods that will last for several years, pretty much by definition I’m not going to need any more for several years, so therefore I should be one of the lowest-priority targets for further advertising! How do advertisers not get this?

Between the obvious stupidity inherent in so much of it, the “creepy factor,” and the poor psychological signaling that it conveys, it’s no wonder that essentially everyone hates targeted ads. And the name hardly helps either; who wants to be a target?

WRT the concept of private information getting accidentally released due to a bug, have a look at this account of exactly that happening to a programmer just last month. A bug caused this guy who was trying to upload some code to a private GitHub repository to a public repo instead, and it contained a security key. A big mess ensued very quickly.


You can’t trust a company either way if they give the control to users , they’ll use legalese to skirt around it .. and since the avg user doesn’t really know how to protect their privacy Companies will take advantage completely systematically and without remorse, as they do now .
What’s needed is a set of tools for available for every user of all technical skill levels and help implementing those tools into everyday life.

IP Lawyersays:

I write privacy policies for a living

I’ve written many.

The documents exist, 100%, to protect the company publishing them. I cannot even conceive of a mindset that thinks these documents serve any other purpose.

They are, in many instances (for instance, California Civil Code Section 1798.83) required by law, and, in many other instances, required by the realities of civil litigation in this country.

The document serves one purpose, and one purpose alone:
To explain to users the uses of their data, put them on notice, and describe under what circumstances users may or may not sue the service for use or misuse of data.

No more, no less.

Granted, I haven’t listened to the podcast – but “are privacy policies altogether a stupid idea” is a useless question. It is a disclaimer, required by law.

While we are in the process of throwing out privacy policies, lets get rid of user manuals and warning labels too, shall we? It’s just as reasonable a proposition.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow