Website privacy policies are almost obligatory for many online services, but for anyone who reads these often unwieldy documents, trust in the provider is more commonly reduced than gained, according to US researchers writing in the International Journal of Services and Standards.
Of course, the existence of a privacy document does not ensure that users read and understand the policy. Indeed, the long-winded and opaque policies provided by many well-known web sites not only deter casual users from reading them but seem to be prepared in such a way as to obfuscate the very policies they aim to describe. One might suggest that such obfuscation is there to deliberately confuse naïve users and to allow the companies running such websites to harvest personal and private information and to do with it what they will without any recourse to the morality of such actions.
Sheng, X. and Simpson, P.M. (2014) ‘Effects of perceived privacy protection: does reading privacy notices matter?’ Int. J. Services and Standards, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp.19–36.