Better design improves understanding of online privacy notices

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Privacy policies for websites, smartphone apps and, especially, components of the emerging Internet of Things are usually ineffective or ignored by users, but Carnegie Mellon University researchers say properly designed privacy notices — pushed out to users at appropriate times — could help remedy that problem.

For instance, a notice to a smartphone user that an app is trying to access her contact list is going to be more effective than just telling the user at the time of installation that the app needs to access a contact list, said Florian Schaub, a post-doctoral researcher in CMU’s Institute for Software Research.

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