Disclosures in Privacy Policies: Does 'Notice and Consent' Work?

NIPFP Working Paper Series, WP No. 246, 2018

45 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019

See all articles by Rishab Bailey

Rishab Bailey

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Smriti Parsheera

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Faiza Rahman

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Date Written: December 11, 2018

Abstract

This paper evaluates the quality of privacy policies of five popular online services in India -- Google, Whatsapp, Uber, Flipkart and Paytm -- from the perspective of access and readability. We ask -- do the policies have specific, unambiguous and clear provisions that lend themselves to easy comprehension? We also conduct a survey among college students to evaluate how much do users typically understand of what they are signing up for.

We find that the policies studied are poorly drafted, and often seem to serve as check-the-box compliance of expected privacy disclosures. Survey respondents do not score very highly on the privacy policy quiz. The respondents fared the worst on policies that had the most unspecified terms, and on policies that were long. Respondents were also unable to understand terms such as “third party”, “affiliate” and “business-partner”. The results suggest that for consent to work, the information offered to individuals has to be better drafted and designed.

Keywords: privacy, privacy policies, disclosure, notice, consent, survey

JEL Classification: K00, D80, D86, K20, K30

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Rishab and Parsheera, Smriti and Rahman, Faiza and Sane, Renuka, Disclosures in Privacy Policies: Does 'Notice and Consent' Work? (December 11, 2018). NIPFP Working Paper Series, WP No. 246, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3328289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3328289

Rishab Bailey

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067
India

Smriti Parsheera (Contact Author)

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067
India

Faiza Rahman

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067
India

Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067
India

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