Privacy policies are four times as long as they were 25 years ago

A machine learning analysis of 50,000 privacy policy texts shows they have ballooned to an average of over 4000 words since 1996


3 February 2022

MTBE2R General Data Protection Regulation - closeup smartphone message with text Privacy Policy.

Privacy policies are getting harder to read

Antons Jevterevs / Alamy

Privacy policies have become longer and less readable, and require more access to user data for the organisations that write them, an analysis of 25 years of documents shows.

Isabel Wagner at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK, gathered 50,000 privacy policy texts by trawling some of the most visited websites in the world for their privacy policies. She also delved into their history dating back to 1996 using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which hosts historical versions of web pages.

She …