Privacy policies that don't work - and some that might

The Age


In the spring of 2010, thousands of online customers clicked on the terms of service at Gamestation.co.uk and unwittingly sold their souls.

As an April Fool's prank, the British gaming retailer slipped an "immortal soul clause" into its licence agreement, knowing full well that nobody looks at them.

In fact, a 2006 UC Berkeley survey found that only 1.4 per cent of participants read these sorts of agreements "often and thoroughly".

The other wrinkle is that most people think the very existence of privacy disclosures means the company is operating in a responsible manner, as the Berkeley survey noted.

"When consumers see the term 'privacy policy,' they believe that their privacy will be protected in specific ways," it said. "Of course, this is not the case."