Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser, has unveiled a set of badges that websites could use to show site visitors at a glance how the site manages their personal information.
The badges, or icons, were posted on the blog of Mozilla interface developer Aza Raskin last week. Five different types of icons have been developed but are not finalized yet. Each icon set deals with an aspect of managing collected personal data, and includes a positive version and a variant with a negative connotation.
For example, one of the icons ensures that personal data is never traded or sold, while the red outlined ‘negative’ counterpart indicates that it is not certain.
There is also an icon set to indicate how long collected data is stored, one that shows if information is shared with advertisers, and another that specifies how easy it is for law enforcement to obtain visitor records.
Most reputable websites provide details on what information is collected from site visitors and how they intend to use or share this information. However, privacy disclosures are typically buried in web pages with long legal documents that few visitors will read. Mozilla hopes the new icons will help highlight the different ways websites might share personal data they collect without having to dig through paragraphs of legalese.
Raskin indicates that the privacy icons could be integrated into Firefox, which would give users a warning when certain icons are missing from a website. Mozilla has not yet decided whether this functionality will be included natively in their browser or not.