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2014: Time to rethink privacy

Evan Schuman | Jan. 2, 2014
Companies have to fully confront the privacy issues they face and rethink their policies from the bottom up.

When you talk about privacy in 2014, this needs to be at the top of the agenda. Push for shorter privacy policies written in clearly understood English. Anything really important should be in bold type and quite explicit. You should point out that judges are already pushing back against user-unfriendly privacy policies, and you can expect more of that.

Ask management, "Is our policy something we're proud of or ashamed of? If we're proud of it, why are we obscuring it with tiny type and legalese? If we're not proud of it, shouldn't we change it?" As things stand today, most privacy policies practically scream to customers and employees this message: "We have something nasty to hide here." And the truth is that most companies do have something to hide in those boilerplates. Make sure that your company doesn't. Or if it does, discuss it openly so that all senior executives understand the implications.

Privacy policies are going to have to seen as core strategic documents in 2014. Anything less and you're going to find a lot more resistance than you've been used to. But there's also a positive reason to do a rethink: You stand to gain on rivals that pass up this chance for such strategic thinking.


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