A new report from the University of California, Berkeley, finds that most Internet surfers don’t understand Web site privacy policies, according to this article in the San Francisco Business Times. Particularly, the study says, consumers don’t understand the extent to which Google and other sites gather data and share it with affiliates.
There’s no doubt that privacy policies lack clarity and that most consumers probably don’t even check them out on any regular basis. As I reported in a Digital Insider column about behavioral targeting from a couple of weeks back, the question is not only how much consumers understand these issues — but how much consumers really care. If they don’t care, they won’t take the time to educate themselves about these issues, particularly when most companies are only currently doing what the FTC requires they disclose in terms of privacy policies. Which, in my opinion, may lead to corporate resentment down the road.