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Prof. Suzanne Barber and Center for Identity Launch PrivacyCheck

Everyday consumers give private companies free access to their personal information like credit card numbers, social security numbers and locations. We've all checked a box that says "click to agree" without reading the terms and conditions and privacy policies we're agreeing to. The Center for Identity at The University of Texas at Austin says it's time consumers were more aware of what information they're giving away.

Prof. Suzanne Barber and her research team developed PrivacyCheck to give users a quick and easy way to understand privacy policies. PrivacyCheck is a browser plugin using a data mining algorithm to highlight 10 important factors in privacy policies and help inform users before they click “I Agree."

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Recently, a team of students from Texas ECE made improvements to PrivacyCheck as part of their Capstone Design project. The team was comprised of Texas ECE undergraduates Malek Al Sukhni, Grant Guglielmo, Altamshali Hirani, Dylan Keeton, Sana Khateeb, and Safa Mohammed.

Description of the Capstone Design project:

PrivacyCheck is a web extension that quickly parses and analyzes a company's privacy policy and ranks it based on ten personal identifiable information categories (or PIIs). Users can save hours of reading time and receive an overview of how a company handles their data in an easy-to-use stoplight system (red is bad use of data, green is great use, yellow is in the middle). The project uses machine learning algorithms to score the policy in real time, as opposed to other products which use a data bank from human scorers.