Jabberwocky writes, "Privacy policies are complicated, and we believe that you should know what's happening with your data when you use a service. In order to help, we've created a set of icons which cover the core components of any policy. We are a group of Yale students taking Control, Privacy, and Technology, and this is our final project. In an ideal world, every website would include these icons."
This is an attempt to use icons to express privacy policies, the same way that Creative Commons licenses express copyright restrictions and permissions. This set is a lot more complex than CC, though the creators have done a good job of narrowing the privacy policies down to the meaningful set of terms:
CHANGES: This website will alert you to material changes/This website may or may not alert you to changes
CONTROL: You, the user, can always access all of your data, export all of your data/You, the user, may or may not be able to access your data, export your data
INFORMATION: This website only collects and uses enough data to provide any necessary services/This website might collect and use more information than is strictly necessary.
SHARING: This website may be collecting data about you. However, they are not selling or trading your data, and they will only share your data with other organizations in order to complete the intended transaction/This website is collecting data about you and may be selling or trading it with another organization, government, or person.
SECURITY: This website encrypts your data/This website does not encrypt your data
LAW ENFORCEMENT: Statutory Process: When an organization receives a phone call, letter, or other legally insufficient request for your data, they don't comply because the law requires the government to take additional steps before getting your data. This website requires the government to comply, at a minimum, with the legal process provided by the law before getting users' data./Compliance: This organization might provide your data to a government that asks for it without following the legally required process.
However, without a compliance mechanism, it's likely that any site that adopts this will only display the icons for their "good" policies and not show the "bad" ones.
Privacy Simplified (Thanks, Jabberwocky!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.