Health-related personal information is very privacy-sensitive. Online privacy policies inform Website users about the ways their personal information is gathered, processed and stored. In the light of increasing privacy concerns, privacy policies seem to be an important mechanism for increasing customer loyalty. However, in practice, consumers only rarely read privacy policies, possibly due to the common assumption that policies are hard to read. By designing and implementing an automated extraction and readability analysis toolset, we present the first study that provides empirical evidence on readability of over 5,000 privacy policies of health websites and over 1,000 privacy policies of top e-commerce sites. Our results confirm the difficulty of reading current privacy policies. We further show that health websites' policies are more readable than top e-commerce ones, but policies of non-commercial health websites are worse readable than commercial ones. Our study also provides a solid policy text corpus for further research.
Ermakova, Tatiana; Fabian, Benjamin; and Babina, Eleonora, "Readability of Privacy Policies of Healthcare Websites" (2015). Wirtschaftsinformatik Proceedings 2015. 73.