Part of the ongoing collaboration between Diffbot and Avast includes the ongoing research into privacy issues for consumers. As part of this research, we’ve become interested in how an individual’s privacy could vary throughout the world based on the location from where they connect to the internet. We wanted to know if an individual's data was inherently more private if they resided in one country versus another.
Our starting point to shed some light on this research question is the Tranco list of domains. This list ranks top sites by popularity and we analyzed the top one hundred thousand websites using Diffbot’s knowledge graph and combined it with some publicly available information about the domains.
Next, we looked at how the privacy policies themselves varied between countries and found that German sites had the longest privacy policies for any country. In general, European privacy policies tend to be longer than most other countries' policies. This is likely due to the increased transparency required by their data protection rules, like the GDPR. An interesting observation was that South Africa stood out among African countries, which may be a result of its privacy law, the POPI Act.
We found that Turkmenistan has the easiest privacy policies to read, partly because their overall number of policies is small and the policies they create are short and easy to read. Contrarily, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand had the hardest policies to read. Plotting the readability scores on a world map looks like the one below, where higher scores indicate that the policies are easier to read.
As more communities install automated license plate readers (APLRs) to monitor vehicle traffic, there are growing concerns about the privacy and efficacy of these tools.
It's encouraging that Google is recognizing that users care about privacy. However, user data is still ultimately a product being sold to advertisers.