Inboxes are now bulging with requests to review new terms of service and privacy conditions and it is no coincidence that so many developers have revamped their small print at the same time.
The EU have now introduced the new privacy law that gives Europeans new data protection rights and threatens giant fines for organisations that do not comply.
Some companies, including Facebook, are asking members to give explicit consent to new features.
Others – such as Twitter and Yahoo – have told members that simply continuing to use their products will be interpreted as agreement to the tweaked conditions.
Many customers have asked if it is not just easier to tick the necessary boxes and carry on as normal.
But that would be to pass up an opportunity to understand and place limits on how your personal details are being used.
One way to handle the flood of documents is to search for the following terms:
- Data providers
The phrase may be mentioned in sections that explain what data is being collected and how that is achieved.
In particular, users should watch out for details of personal information being acquired from third parties that could let the services profile them in unexpected ways.
- Location data
The new law explicitly defines the places a person visits in their past and present as being a type of personal data for the first time.
Organisations are therefore required to detail how such information will be used to identify individuals.
- Affirmative act
When consent is required, it must now be given via a clear action.
The days of automatically signing up people to a marketing campaign because they did not untick a box are over.
But it’s worth double-checking how consent is being sought to avoid clicking a button without realising its consequences.
Users based outside the EU should check where the entity is based. Facebook recently switched millions of its users out of the control of its Irish office, which means they will no longer be protected by the European watchdogs enforcing the new legislation.
- Purposes and Recipients
These terms are often used to inform users what a business will do with their data and with whom they will share it.