Privacy Icons: Where are They Now?
Long holiday weekends definitely have their perks, and for me one of those was catching Friday afternoon’s To the Point conversation on internet privacy (usually I’d be in the middle of a work day and miss it). The discussion centered around the pros and cons of data and behavior tracking as consumers move about the ‘net and reminded of a great presentation by a classmate of mine on cookies. I find this topic fascinating because it touches on so many things — privacy, design and the online experience. And, like so many things, it’s complicated.
I am definitely concerned about how much and what kind of information about me and my online behaviors is shared, leaked, sold, etc. but I also enjoy having a somewhat customized experience as I navigate the web. I like that Netflix and Amazon provide suggestions about what I might like, I like that e-commerce sites remember what’s in my shopping bag, and I like it when sites “remember” me. Though I consider myself a relatively web- and tech-savvy individual, I have no idea how and why most sites are using information about me. Which probably means that the vast majority of the web-using public have no idea either.
I’m fascinated by the concept, though I’m not entirely sure how it would be implemented. It seems that to be of real value this would need to be standard across all browsers, not just limited to one, and I can definitely see the reluctance on the side of commercial sites who are used to “burying” this kind of information in privacy policies that few people read.
What do you think? Are privacy icons like these something that could actually work? How would you see them being used?