The Ugliness of Privacy Notices

by on November 4, 2009 · 8 comments

I have ranted once or twice before about the regulatory requirement that Google—a search engine—post a link to a privacy notice on its home page.

Not all computers all places may see it, but Google appears to be experimenting with a bit of javascript that leaves the page blank but for the Google image and the search field until you roll your cursor over it. But they’re leaving the privacy notice (and a copyright notice) there, probably for fear that privacy advocates will yelp about a modern-day paperwork violation.

This provides an opportunity to see the difference between a world with privacy notice regulation and one without. One is cluttered and overlawyered. The other is pure and clean and fresh.

Take a look for yourself. Which do you prefer?

This?

google_with_notice

Or this?

google_without_notice

I think the answer is obvious. The only difference, mind you, is aesthetic. If Google were permitted to have a truly good looking Web site, users’ privacy would be no worse off for it because they don’t read privacy notices.

  • http://angrydictator.com PJ Doland

    We could always treat privacy notices like favicon files or robots.txt files. Have them stay in a standard place, but let the user-agent negotiate their download and use.

  • http://twitter.com/bradweikel Brad Weikel

    PJ, I was just thinking the same thing. If standardized, browsers would quickly be updated to recognize it and users would see a standard privacy icon next to the familiar security padlock.

  • 4thelulz

    This really can't clear my indifference threshold.

  • 4thelulz

    This really can't clear my indifference threshold.

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