Want to Actually Read Online Privacy Policies? Prepare to Give Up 40 Minutes a Day
Posted Mar 6, 2012 1:46 PM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Two Carnegie Mellon researchers have estimated that it would take 40 minutes a day to read the privacy policies you encounter on websites each year.
To put the figures in perspective, the researchers write, a person would have to spend an average of 40 minutes a day to read all those privacy policies. The figure is staggering on a national level. “We estimate that if all American Internet users were to annually read the online privacy policies word-for-word each time they visited a new site, the nation would spend about 54 billion hours reading privacy policies,” according to Cranor and McDonald.
The Atlantic sees a lesson in the numbers. “What that massive number tells us is that the way we deal with privacy is fundamentally broken,” the story says. “The collective weight of the Web's data collection practices is so great that no one can maintain a responsible relationship with his or her own data.”