Microsoft tells business to dump 'complex' privacy statements

By Darren Pauli on Jun 21, 2012 8:13 AM
Filed under Security

Too much information.

Microsoft’s security strategist has urged organisations to get rid of verbose privacy documents that "confuse" users.

Scott Charney said users were “overloaded” with information in lengthy privacy documents and could not be reasonably expected to trawl through dozens of pages.

“Even if you had the knowledge to read it through, you’d never finish,” Charney told media at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters.

“There’s a lot of debate on notice and choice, but now users get so many privacy statements they don’t know what to do with them.”

Instead, privacy documents should be shortened to a single page and dump obvious privacy clauses such as the need for users to supply shipping addresses for goods purchased online.

But lengthy statements should still be made available for “lawyers and privacy experts” to peruse.

The call comes on the back of Microsoft’s own move to simplify its privacy policies, however exactly what this will involve was unknown.

“In the early years we put too much burden on users – we need to provide more direct and actionable information to users, rather than just throw stuff at them,” Charney said.

Darren Pauli travelled to Redmond as a guest of Microsoft. 

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