Saturday, June 9, 2018

Unreadable Privacy Statements - Rewrite 1

I recently wrote (June 3) about a central characteristic of the long, complicated sentences in most Privacy Statements. Those multipli-embedded ones with lots of qualifying phrases and clauses between the starting Subject and the Verb.

A few of you asked me to show some possible rewrites. 

So, here we go.*
( Over the years I've found that the writers do a fine job, but 
everything goes a bit pear-shaped once the legal department messes 
with the language).


Specimen of the Day
    From the New York Times New Privacy Statements
    in the section on Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

BEFORE 
Personally Identifiable Information


"“Personally Identifiable Information” that alone or in combination with other information or in certain contexts can be used to identify, distinguish or trace you or your Device(s) is referred to in this document as “PII”."



                                                                            AFTER 

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is information that can identify, distinguish or trace you or your Device(s).  PII can be one piece of information or a combination of pieces of information 







"Sensitive PII"

BEFORE
Sensitive PII.  In certain circumstances, such as when purchasing a Product, you may provide a credit, debit, or payment account number, or other payment information which we recognize as more sensitive than other PII.  We generally do not request on or through the Service other Data that is often considered “highly sensitive,” such as other financial account information (e.g., credit report information, bank account numbers), personal health information, or government issued identification numbers (e.g., social security number, drivers’ license number, or passport number), although we reserve the right to do so when such Data is necessary to offer you certain services.
-->

                                                                              AFTER 



Sometimes you may give us information that is more sensitive than the usual PII.  For example, you may give us credit or debit card or a payment account number.  This is "sensitive PII".  We generally do not ask for "highly sensitive" personal information such as such as other financial account information (e.g., credit report information, bank account numbers), personal health information, or government issued identification numbers (e.g., social security number, drivers’ license number, or passport number).  There may be some situations when we may have to ask for this information to provide you with some Services.

Have your own examples ( good and bad) please send them along!



We could compile a rogue's list of the worst language offenders!