Social media sites and apps that collect personal data have been told to simplify their terms and conditions, and detail how they use personal information.
A report from the UK Science and Technology Committee says they want the government to work with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to develop a set of information standards that websites and apps can sign up to.
They want these standards to explain how companies use personal data in clear, concise terms.
Committee chair Andrew Miller MP referenced Facebook’s experiment earlier in the year where they manipulated user timelines to affect different emotional responses.
He said: “Facebook’s experiment with users emotions highlighted serious concerns about the extent to which, ticking the terms and conditions box, can be said to constitute informed consent when it comes to the varied ways data is now being used by many websites and apps.
“Let’s face it, most people click yes to terms and conditions contracts without reading them, because they are often laughably long and written in the kind of legalese you need a law degree from the USA to understand.”
Apps which requested information “they do not obviously need” were also singled out as a problem.
The committee said they want an internationally-recognised Kitemark for apps, which would detail exactly how they use such personal data.
This year, OkCupid also came under fire for an experiment where they purposefully gave users bad matches.
While social media sites were the focus of the report, the mention of apps that collect personal data means dating apps could be affected if such measures gain traction.
We will update with any further developments.