The online syndicate Disconnect has joined forces with Internet nonprofit Mozilla and a team of designers to demystify web privacy for the masses. Their weapon of choice? A visual rating system that pops up in your browser bar. Since reading the fine print on how your personal information gets used is time-consuming and confusing, which is why you don’t do it. As a result, average web surfers (Hi!) has absolutely no idea what information sites are mining for, or how they use it. That’s where the icons come in.
There are currently nine symbols representing different degrees of compliance with privacy standards. If a website sells your data to outside parties, it gets a dollar sign inside an orange circle with an upward pointed arrow. If it doesn’t, it gets a plain old green circle around a dollar sign. Confused? You’re not alone. The new set of icons is complicated, and that’s pretty much by design. As Casey Oppenheim of Disconnect explains, Internet privacy is a hard concept to boil down to a visual language. “How do you convey data, intent, all these different things?”