Listened IRL Podcast: The “Privacy Policy” Policy from irlpodcast.org

In the Season 5 premier of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi speaks with Charlie Warzel, writer-at-large with the New York Times, about our complicated relationship with data and privacy — and the role privacy policies play in keeping things, well, confusing. You’ll also hear from Parker and Lila, two young girls who realize how gaming and personal data intersect. Rowenna Fielding, a data protection expert, walks us through the most efficient ways to understand a privacy policy. Professor Lorrie Cranor explains how these policies have warped our understanding of consent. And privacy lawyer Jenny Afia explains why “privacy” is a base element of being human.

Manoush Zomorodi leads an exploration of what we mean by privacy by taking a dive into privacy policies. Charlie Warzel, the editor behind the New York Times’ Privacy Project, argues that Privacy has become an impoverished word. Another option for this is a ‘hyperobject’, as James Bridle explains in the New Dark Age,

The philosopher Timothy Morton calls global warming a ‘hyperobject’: a thing that surrounds us, envelops and entangles us, but that is literally too big to see in its entirety.Page 77

The argument in the end is that with the rise of surveillance capitalism, we have moved over time from ‘we might use’ your data to ‘we will’ use your data, therefore making privacy policies seemingly null and void.

For more on privacy policies, Bill Fitzgerald argues that we need to move beyond compliance to focus on privacy:

The more we can ground these conversations [around privacy] in personal elements the better: what do you want to show? Why? How? Do you ever want to retract it?

Alternatively, Amy Collier provides the follow list to consider:

  • Audit student data repositories and policies associated with third-party providers
  • Have a standard and well-known policy about how to handle external inquiries for student data and information.
  • Provide an audit of data to students who want to know what data is kept on them, how the data is kept, where it is kept, and who else has access.
  • Have clear guidelines and regulations for how data is communicated and transmitted between offices.
  • Take seriously the data policies of third-party vendors.
  • Closely examine and rethink student-tracking protocols.
  • Give students technological agency in interacting with the institution.

In regards to privacy policies associated with third-party vendors, Fitzgerald suggests looking for the following search words associated with consent: third party, affiliatuons, change, update and modify.

For a different approach, Amy Wang reports on the terms of services associated with Instagram. She also includes extracts from a lawyer, Jenny Afia, who rewrote the document in plain English. This is similar to Terms of Service, Didn’t Read, a site designed to not only summarise Terms of Services, but also highlight aspects to consider.

Bookmarked Privacy Postcards, or Poison Pill Privacy by Bill FitzgeraldBill Fitzgerald (FunnyMonkey)

For those who want to use this structure to create your own Privacy Postcards, I have created a skeleton structure on Github. Please, feel free to clone this, copy it, modify it, and make it your own.

Bill Fitzgerald provides a framework for unpacking privacy when it comes to apps, especially in the Play Store.
Bookmarked Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases by Alex Hern (the Guardian)

Data about exercise routes shared online by soldiers can be used to pinpoint overseas facilities

Alex Hern reports that Strava data inadvertently reveals a number of supposed military secrets. In response, Bill Fitzgerald also provides some interesting commentary on Twitter:

Arvind Narayanan also wrote a series of tweets: