TECHNOLOGY

These 4 Examples of Transparent Data Policies Should Be Your Goal

Spoiler alert: Facebook isn’t one of them.

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BY Kayla Matthews - 14 Apr 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Facebook. Equifax. Uber. Yahoo.

One thing all these companies have in common is that they've recently captured headlines due to data breaches and collectively stirred up concerns about consumer privacy.

Those are some of the biggest names associated with data breaches, but hundreds of other companies have been affected this year alone.

Statistics from the Identity Theft Research Center mention that as of April 1, 273 breaches have compromised nearly 5.5 million records.

Another alarming fact is that a 2014 study indicated most Internet users don't know what they're sharing online. It polled 900 respondents in five countries and found only 14 percent knew they were sharing their browsing history with companies. However, 97 percent of people in the survey were concerned businesses might misuse their data.

Now, instead of just being more aware that they're giving away data about themselves, some consumers resist doing business with companies unless it's possible to verify what those businesses do with the provided information and whether customers can limit what's collected.

Plus, transparency could give people more peace of mind and encourage long-term support for brands.

Research from Label Insights showed that transparency was the number one factor motivating brand loyalty, with 94 percent of people saying they'd be loyal to brands that show complete transparency.

Some companies particularly understand why transparency matters and have prioritized information and visibility. Here are four of them.

1. Apple

Apple has a very in-depth privacy page that uses plain language to tell visitors how the company uses data.

People can also go to several links at the top of the page that feature more details, including offering a transparency report.

Another section of content managed by Apple breaks down security policies for iCloud data and uses a chart and bullet points for clarity.

2. Encircle

Encircle is a company that streamlines the processes related to insurance company claims and home restorations after disasters.

The brand makes its privacy policy easy to see via the Security link at the top of its homepage.

The information tells users about data storage standards, including who can access the content and how.

Moreover, it covers what happens to data in transit and how Encircle handles passwords. If customers want even more specifics, they can click on the Security Overview link in the page's Resources section and read a three-page document.

3. Fitbit

Because many privacy policies are so long, it's helpful to make it easier for people to quickly find the information in it that they want to read.

Fitbit's privacy policy does this by offering a bulleted list of links covering broad topics such as the information the company collects, how they share it and how they treat kids' data differently than that associated with people over 18.

There's also a helpful bit of information at the top of the page. It reveals when Fitbit last updated its privacy policy and links to a summary of what changed compared to the previous version.

4. Danske Bank

Besides offering a straightforward breakdown about how this financial institution uses customer data, the brand links to a 12-page PDF that provides more specifics, including how to withdraw consent for the collection of personal or business-related information.

It's also notable that Danske Bank's privacy page includes a chart of the cookies collected when people use the brand's website.

It mentions why the company uses each type of cookie, and whether a cookie is only part of certain pages on the website or all of them.

Some companies may resist being as transparent as the four brands listed here, perhaps because they fear a backlash if customers read privacy policies and decide they're insufficient.

However, publicizing the respective practices for handling data can show a brand wants to be honest with its consumers, and the feedback it receives could prove instrumental for making an existing policy more rigorous moving forward.

 

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