The People’s Privacy Policy now in review

I finished my People’s Privacy Policy today, and sent it off to a few friends that are NOT computer Geeks for them to review.  Basically I want companies to adopt a Privacy Policy that is written by the customer, and not the Lawyers.

After the initial review I plan on posting the document on a WiKi (maybe hosted here, maybe not).  Once it’s on the WiKi I will encourage community ownership of the Policy.  The initial idea is that a new formal policy would be “released” no more than Quarterly – and the community would decide which revisions since the last release are included, and which are not.  So it would be a community driven document, but not quite as unstructured as an open WiKi.

The goal is that instead of having to monitor numerous Privacy Policies amongst various sites, you would monitor just one.  Not just monitor it, but help define it. Various sites would either link back to the revision of the Policy they initially signed up for, and/or they would include the text of the version, and a link back to the parent site of the “living” document.  Users could eventually opt-in to receive notifications of when the document has a new formal revision, or when one of the sites they monitor has updated to a newer revision, or abandoned the People’s Privacy Policy all together.

Is this important?  It is – because more and more web sites are sneaking rules into a Privacy Policy.  Rules don’t belong in a document that should be explaining to you what the company is going to do for you, and how they will protect you and your data.  Rules belong in a Terms of Use document.

So this is the “coming out party” for this project.  I hadn’t planned on releasing any information on it yet, because I wanted the feedback from my review teams first.  But twice today I was asked about Privacy Policies, so I thought it is as good of a time as any to let you know about it.

And yes, this will be something any company can use for free, assuming they accept the Creative Commons License (to be published with the document).

More in a couple weeks.