Before handing over your personal information, reading through certain parts of privacy policies is a small — but important — way to take back some of your digital identity
But privacy policies are long. And often full of weird language. And how do you even know what to look for? The first step, according to Avast Chief Privacy Officer Shane McNamee, is to not let it intimidate you.
McNamee, a barrister himself, suggests focusing on the areas that are most important to you, rather than trying to read the entire policy. For example, is your biggest concern sharing with third party advertisers? Or are you more interested in learning what personal information the service collects? Maybe you just want to check on app permissions. Determine what’s most important to you before you even tackle the document and you’ll find you have a much easier time of it.
If you want to take this part one step further, McNamee suggests doing a little bit of studying of the privacy laws that apply in your area. And, really, we mean just a little.
“You don’t have to read the law itself cover to cover,” McNamee says. “A lot of the time these laws are more simple than you might expect — and the parts you need to know are contained in certain sections.”
For example, people living in Europe are covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you try to tackle the whole law, it might look intimidating. But, McNamee says, most of what you need to know is in just a few articles: 5, 6, 12, 13, and 14. Familiarizing yourself with those articles will make reading privacy policies for European citizens — and for companies that are based in Europe — significantly easier.