Privacy policies from online services are written in a legal language that makes them difficult to understand. They’re usually rather long, so only about 20 percent of us bothers to read them. A new AI could change that by reading policies and making then “fun.”
“I have read and understood…” has got to be one of the biggest lies people commit on a regular basis. It’s the typical ending for the long-winded customer agreements or privacy policies attached to every online service, which few ever read. Or at least, not in their entirety.
When humankind finds something difficult, we typically build a gizmo to do it for us — and this case is no different. It turns out, reading lengthy fine-print is the expertise of a machine-learning artificial intelligence (AI) designed by researchers from the Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL), the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Michigan. Their research began with a question, said lead researcher Hamza Harkous from EPFL.
“What if we visualize what’s in the policy for the user?” Harkous said in an interview with WIRED. “Not to give every piece of the policy, but just the interesting stuff.”
A bit of a fine print here, though. Even with a powerful tool like Polisis, the barest minimum effort is still required from the human user. In other words, a policy summary is not helpful if you don’t actually bother to read it. The AI can help, but human users have to help themselves first.