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Free Tool Analyzes Privacy Policies of Facebook Apps

By Andy Sim - on 26 Apr 2012, 10:40am

Free Tool Analyzes Privacy Policies of Facebook Apps


Image credit: PrivacyChoice

Online privacy has always been a source of contention between users and developers. How can we tell if an app is safe? Will it compromise our personal data?

Now, Facebook has been in the limelight on more than one occasion for their loose and callous approach towards privacy policies. And being prudent is perhaps the best measure a user could take against their ever changing security protocols. Assistance is at hand, however, for PrivacyChoice has released a free tool recently to help users gauge possible privacy risks with Facebook applications. Here's how it works in a nutshell.

Privacyscore assigns a rating of one to hundred to the assessed apps. A score of 100 denotes "privacy perfection" although no developer has garnered that score in reality as yet. According to a PCMag's report, Playdom garnered the best ranking so far with a score of 93, while Electronic Arts clocked in at 91, and Zynga at 82. More info about how Privacyscore computes the results can be found at the company's FAQ page, in which we'll provide a snippet here:

"A Privacyscore reflects nine factors based on the site’s privacy policy and the privacy qualifications of the other companies collecting data there. Four site-policy factors cover how websites promise to handle your personal data. Five tracking data factors cover the privacy policies and oversight of companies that collect anonymous profile data on the site and elsewhere for things like ad selection. Each tracker contributes to the total score based on the prevalence of that company in the pages sampled for the site that have trackers."

Leaders in the online advertising industry have been using a variant version of Privacyscore to police tracking practices of online advertising networks before the consumer version came about. "Facebook's pervasive web presence comes with a responsibility to hold people who are developing apps on their platform accountable for the (privacy) assertions that they're making," said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director of the Online Trust Alliance.

Users can finally acquire a third-party's assessment of an app's privacy risks with this practical tool, but ironically enough, Privacyscore is a Facebook app in itself as well. So who's going to police the police now?

Source: USA Today and PC Mag