From my early days of using email, sites like MySpace, and later getting my first smartphone, it was a common practice for me to breeze right past or simply “accept” privacy policies on websites and apps. That was until a few years ago when I joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as its first social media strategist. Right off the bat, our chief privacy officer asked me to analyze privacy policies and Terms of Service, and draft Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) for various third-party sites we were interested in using.
We not only need to understand what personally identifiable information we have access to on these sites and apps, but when, how and why we collect it; how we share it; and how we safeguard it. Furthermore, we need to help citizens understand, too. Finally, conducting these privacy analyses is just good business.
Transparency—especially regarding citizen privacy—continues to play an important role as we move forward with open government.