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Aza Raskin, Creative Lead for Mozilla (but not for long), suggested privacy icons as a way to standardize, summarize and simplify privacy policies.

If Stack Exchange had privacy icons, what would they be?

This question is not entirely pointless, as those icons may at a later point be displayed by browsers as a part of their "identity management" -- obviously defaulting to the worst possible ratings.

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I don't see how this is opinion-based. There is a clear cut set of icons and SE has a lear cut set of policies. – Pëkka Aug 28 '13 at 18:24
@notPekka I agree; voted to reopen. I can only assume that the closevoters thought that the icons themselves are based on opinion, and you could choose a few to put on your site or something. – Doorknob Aug 28 '13 at 21:48
What was SOIS anyway? – bobobobo Aug 30 '13 at 16:01

Those icons don't strike me as being applicable to public information sharing sites like,, or any number of other sites. If you look carefully at these privacy icons, they seem to be primarily targeted at email service providers (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail) and cloud hosting services like Dropbox or iCloud.

Let's look at some of the icons.

enter image description here what you intend

enter image description here enter image description here

Let's consider a few nightmare scenarios.

Say you're working on a novel and it's hosted in cloud hosting service X. Oh, your novel comes out a week early, under someone else's name. Oh, you find out. cloud hosting service X allows Your data to be used for purposes You Do Not Intend, and Your data has been bartered or sold. You have no rights, because cloud hosting service X owns your data, apparently.

Or another company releases the source to your top selling app. Oh, you find out. Your private online source code repository was not so private after all.

These are extreme cases. They probably never happen.

My point is, a public information sharing site should not have the same expectation of privacy that a private information repository should have.

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The icons are of limited relevance to stack exchange but there is both public and private data held here. For example I claim to be Richard Tingle but perhaps I really am *****redactedy for reasons of national security*****, and stackExchange knows my email address which could be sold for a few fractions of a penny, expecially given that I am *****redacted***** – Richard Tingle Aug 29 '13 at 15:04
SE does have personally identfiable information from users: mainly the contents of your real name and email fields fields from your profile and the IP address information from your visits. The handling of this information is basically the whole point of the moderator agreement. – badp Aug 29 '13 at 15:08

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