Review

Disconnect Privacy Icons show website privacy policies at a glance


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Who checks websites’ privacy policies when they visit them? The answer, let’s be honest, is very very few of us.

Even when a website’s privacy policy is available (all too often it is not), it is often hidden away and couched in dense language deliberately designed to bore us to death or scare us away. Most us have anyway much better (and more interesting) things to do with our lives than read through such legalese junk.

Enter a new extension from the makers of our favorite anti-tracking browser security extension, Disconnect. Disconnect Privacy Icons provides an at-a-glance guide to a websites’ privacy policies, allowing you to ‘understand the most important terms from a website’s privacy policy and other information about how your data is collected, used and handled.’

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The extension includes an option to search Google anonymously using Disconnect Search

Each Privacy Icon represents a facet of privacy, and shows how well the website you are visiting handles it, with Red meaning very badly, Green meaning well, and Grey meaning that no information is available.

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At present, because the idea is new, information is not available for many websites, but this is likely to change as the plugin expands its userbase. Data is provided by the TRUSTe Privacy Policy Database, ‘which includes in-depth analysis of the privacy policies of thousands of websites around the world.’ and the icons were are an evolution ‘from a Mozilla-led working group that included some of the most prominent privacy organizations, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, and W3C.’

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Icons indicate how good a webpage is with regards to things such as Expected Use, Data Retention, Do Not Track compliance, and Child privacy. Hovering over an icon with your mouse brings up an explanation of what it means.

Disconnect Privacy Icons is open source and completely free, but a donation is requested. Disconnect is a certified Benefit corporation.

Edit 26 June 2014

We didn’t notice it at first because we usually use privacy search engine DuckDuckGo, but when the Disconnect Privacy Icons extension is installed, Icon information is added to regular Google search results…

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Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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