Privacy International published an analysis [1] in which 23 (! ;)) web companies are ranked by their treatment of the users’ privacy. As described before (and here again) Google’s huge collection of personal data that is havested by the toolbox of services can be seen as a harm for privacy. The authors of the study think that Google’s behaviour regarding privacy is the worst one of all companies in the analysis. Although the study is highly criticized e.g. at Search Engine Land I really like to see the topic discussed in the media and getting more awareness.

Part of the privacy problem is the communication of the policies of the web services. The language of the general terms and conditions is in rare cases well understandable by usual people. There was recently a podcast (german) on netzpolitik.org with Matthias Mehldau. Matthias developed similar to Creative Commons an icon set for data privacy (PDF but SVG should be available soon). It is created to communicate in an easy way the privacy policies of a web service. So far is it in an early development phase and Matthias invited everbody to contribute with ideas and improved icons.

[1] “A Race to the Bottom – Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies”, 09/06/2007

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