AI Tool Makes It Easier for Users to Grasp Privacy Policies

By Marilia Wyatt, CyberPrivacy

Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled an AI-powered tool designed to help users understand vague and complicated privacy policies on the internet to inform their decisions about their data.

The Pittsburgh-based private research university said its  ‘Usable Privacy Policy Project’ extracts annotations from privacy policies by combining crowdsourcing, machine learning, and natural language processing techniques.

The tool also uses artificial intelligence algorithms to crawl websites’ privacy policies and identify those that have language about data collection and use, data retention and security, user choice to remove/edit data, third-party sharing,  among others. The AI capability also rates each privacy policy based on readability.

“Through our work we hope to overcome the limitations of current natural language privacy policies without imposing new requirements on service providers,” said Norman Sadeh lead principal investigator professor at Carnegie Mellon University via a project newsletter. “We found that the text of the policies is often vague and ambiguous, and people tend to struggle to interpret and determine what personal information is collected, how it’s used, and what other entities it’s shared with,” Mr. Sadeh said. “From a legal standpoint, this is problematic.”

The Project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation under its Secure and Trustworthy Computing (SaTC) program, further aims to help organizations improve their privacy policies, assist regulators to assess policies, and inform ongoing public policy debates.

Further Reading:

Project Newsletter June 2016

(Video) Carnegie Mellon’s new AI reads privacy policies for you

(Video) Usable Privacy Policy Project: An Overview (December 2017)


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