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Automated Tracking of Online Service Policies

8 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2012  

J. Trent Adams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kevin Bauer

University of Waterloo

Asa Hardcastle

OpenLiberty.org

Dirk Grunwald

University of Colorado at Boulder

Douglas Sicker

Carnegie Mellon University; University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Computer Science

Date Written: August 15, 2010

Abstract

The use of online services such as social networking sites or search engines is generally governed by one or more usage policies, such as terms of service, end-user license agreements, and privacy policies. To facilitate effective dissemination of policy information, structured policy data formats such as the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) and others have been proposed, but have not benefited from wide adoption. Consequently, today users still must resort to locating, reading, and understanding the usage policies for the services they use regularly – an onerous task for ordinary users.

While structured policy formats have been slow to be adopted, human-readable natural language policy documents are ubiquitous across a wide variety of online services. For example, these documents can express a service’s privacy policy, end-user license agreement, or terms of service. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of the Policy Audit System, a system that aggregates the natural language policies for a wide variety of online services, monitors these policies for changes over time, and informs interested users of salient policy changes in a manner that is easy to understand.

Suggested Citation

Adams, J. Trent and Bauer, Kevin and Hardcastle, Asa and Grunwald, Dirk and Sicker, Douglas, Automated Tracking of Online Service Policies (August 15, 2010). TPRC 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1989112

J. Trent Adams (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kevin Bauer

University of Waterloo ( email )

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Canada

Asa Hardcastle

OpenLiberty.org ( email )

Dirk Grunwald

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Douglas Sicker

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Boulder, CO
United States

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