A Nutrition Label for Internet Privacy. And Apple Should Lead the Way.

WANT: a more standardized, human-readable format for conveying Privacy Policies and Terms of Service.

FDA Nutrition Labels, which were only first required within the last few decades and underwent a reformatting a couple years back, seem to be a reasonable direction to follow.

There’s a site called TOSDR (Terms of Service Didn’t Read) which tries to simplify this complexity into a summary [Wired article].

That’s an ok start but I’d prefer to see this integrated into the products themselves versus third party destination. Apple is in a great position to drive standardization here — what if 2018 was year of the Privacy Label in the iOS App Store? Elevate this display to the same level of importance as User Reviews. Perhaps even factor into App Store ranking and promotion. Would Tim Cook go so far as to say that Apple shouldn’t promote any app that abuses user data? Of course one challenge is that even Apple doesn’t know what’s truly being done with user data.

Simplification — and notification of changes to policies in a way that updates the label, not just a bunch of legalese — is a start towards helping consumers make their own decisions about what products to use, to trust. And would aid digital literacy. [sidenote, can we stop calling it “digital literacy” — characterizing those who don’t live and breather the minutiae of tech as illiterate is *NOT* a great way to encourage learning or show respect]

So whether it’s Apple or the US Govt who takes the lead, let’s get a simplified, standardized way to present digital nutrition data.