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A Step Towards Usable Privacy Policy: Automatic Alignment of Privacy Statements

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journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2014, 00:00 by Fei Liu, Rohan Ramanath, Norman Sadeh-Koniecpol, Noah A. Smith

With the rapid development of web-based services, concerns about user privacy have heightened. The privacy policies of online websites, which serve as a legal agreement between service providers and users, are not easy for people to understand and therefore offer an opportunity for natural language processing. In this paper, we consider a corpus of these policies, and tackle the problem of aligning or grouping segments of policies based on the privacy issues they address. A dataset of pairwise judgments from humans is used to evaluate two methods, one based on clustering and another based on a hidden Markov model. Our analysis suggests a five-point gap between system and median-human levels of agreement with a consensus annotation, of which half can be closed with bag of words representations and half requires more sophistication.

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