May 2, 2012
Reinventing the Web, One Site at a Time: New label helps people make smarter decisions about information we share online.
May 2, 2012 Mountain View, California – At this week’s Internet Identity Workshop, Kantara Initiative’s Information Sharing Work Group (http://InformationSharingWorkGroup.org) released a proposed Standard Information Sharing Label designed to help people understand how the information we share online gets used.
The label replaces confusing legalese typically buried in multi-page Terms of Service agreements with clear, simple language about who is requesting what information, for what purpose. The label can be used by any website with minimal effort and at no cost. The team has launched a Kickstarter project to fund the graphic design of the new label and seeks feedback and input in its weekly conference calls.
Website Terms of Service (TOS) agreements often go unread as website visitors ignore links and “click-through” without actually reading the fine print. As a result, most people have no idea what they are agreeing to. Typically these agreements are isolated from the primary user experience and filled with complex language and details that most people don’t understand. However, with the rise of privacy risks from sharing personal information online, people are increasingly concerned about how their information is used.
The Standard Information Sharing Label works in conjunction with existing practices to give individuals a clear, unambiguous picture of what is happening with the information they are about to share. Using a consistent design across all websites makes it easier for individuals to understand before they share, just like the USDA Nutrition Facts label helps consumers understand their nutritional options before they buy packaged foods.
The Working Draft of the proposed specification can be found at http://kantarainitiative.org/confluence/display/infosharing/Standard+Information+Sharing+Label
The group has produced a short video and launched a Kickstarter project to promote and finance the graphic design of the Standard Label. The video and information for backing the project can be found at http://standardlabel.org
The Information Sharing Work Group formed in April of 2009 to create a way to use contract law to make it easier and safer for people to share information online. Focusing on the narrow use case of information individuals voluntarily give to websites, the group’s approach avoids both the challenge of “solving” online privacy and the herculean task of standardizing general Terms of Service agreements. Bootstrapping a contractual Data Transaction agreement at the point of sharing is simpler and easier to understand, allowing both individuals and organizations to agree on the essential details for any online exchange. The Standard Information Sharing Label is the visible portion of that new framework and the first component to be released for public comment. The Work Group is co-Chaired by Iain Henderson and Joe Andrieu.
Kantara Initiative (http://kantarainitiative.org) is an industry and community organization which enables trust in identity services through our compliance programs, requirements development, and information sharing among communities including: industry, research & education, government agencies and international stakeholders.