brendon
Brendon Lynch, Microsoft privacy chief.

Internet users want to know more about the types of data being collected about them, how that data is being used, and with whom it’s being shared. But we don’t want to read massive privacy policies to glean those insights.

That’s one of the takeaways from a Microsoft-sponsored survey of tech-savvy consumers in the U.S. and Europe, being released today by the company in conjunction with Data Privacy Day. Despite their desire for greater knowledge, more than 25 percent of respondents said they read privacy policies in full before clicking “accept.”

The findings highlight the need for a clearer framework and common practices for privacy among technology providers, said Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, Brendon Lynch, in an interview with GeekWire this morning. Here are excerpts from Lynch’s comment on the topic.

What (users are) most looking for from us is technological innovation, as well as transparency on data usage, and simple-to-use privacy controls. … We know that people are wanting transparency, but they’re not necessarily taking advantage of it. That speaks to the technological innovations, and the fact that organizations really need to do more to protect people’s privacy for them.

If you look ahead on the ubiquitous computing trends — Internet of things, wearable computing, big data and the like — you quickly recognize that there are going to be many devices that are personal, that are connected to the Internet, and will have data collection, but they’re not going to lend themselves in form or volume to a notice and consent experience for consumers. There are simply going to be too many, and in many cases there’s not even going to be a screen to present any information.

It leads us to a conclusion that an over-reliance on notice and consent at the point of collection is not going to offer meaningful privacy. Perhaps the framework needs to shift toward responsible use of information. It doesn’t mean that notice and choice and consent won’t make sense in all cases. There’s certainly going to be many cases — particularly where there’s sensitive information involved, like health information — where there will need to be clear, explicit consent for the use of that information. But for the vast majority, we might need to rely more on just responsible practices across the industry.

Here’s a summary of the findings from Microsoft. Click for larger image. This particular survey has not been conducted previously, so it’s not clear how these opinions have been shaped by the revelations about NSA data snooping.

MS_Accessibility6More from GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano: The weakest link in data privacy is, well, you

 

 

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