Making privacy accessible
S ’19 –

PrivacySpy rates companies’ privacy policies on a ten-point scale, so you can easily understand how your data is being treated online. I started PrivacySpy with Igor Barakaiev in the summer of 2019.

You can view the site at, install the browser extension here, and view the source code on GitHub.

The New York Times named PrivacySpy a “Tip of the Week” as part of its Privacy Project, writing:

Privacy policies are long, boring and extremely consequential documents. If you’ve been reading this newsletter or keeping up with the Privacy Project, you probably know that buried inside these tomes of legalese are details about how your personal data will be collected, used and potentially shared.

If you’re like me, you feel a pang of guilt now every time you’re confronted with one of these policies. Should you read it? Ideally, yes. Do you have the time, energy or legal/technical acumen to do so? Probably not. So we click “accept” and sigh deeply and move on.

Which is why I am fascinated by Privacy Spy, a newly launched site that makes privacy policies more convenient and accessible. It’s a little like Wikipedia but for figuring out how a company is using — and misusing — your information. Currently the site has 72 major companies’ policies (full disclosure: The Times is included) listed. The website has analyzed each company’s policy and assigned a score out of 10 using 12 individual scores across four categories: collection, handling, transparency and warnings.

Even if you’ve accepted a company’s policy in the past, this is a great reference to see how it’s handing your information. Better yet, it’s completely open source, supported by a nonprofit, and there are no trackers on the site. Check it out here.

Hi! If you made it this far, maybe you want to stay in touch. You can follow me on Twitter, subscribe via Atom/RSS, or sign up for my infrequent email letter.

© R. Miles McCain 2024. Content is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, a Free Culture License. The source code is available under GPLv3. This site collects (minimal) visitor analytics.