Sites you visit, applications you use and services you take all have privacy policies – but what are they and why are they important, despite many people just check boxing them?
Privacy policies govern the collection, management and protection of data
Transparency and empowerment around the use of your data underpin the use of privacy policies in this data-driven age and should be taken seriously.
In data-driven ecosystems, this has ever-increasing importance. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal how data is collected, why, where and when has come under intense scrutiny. As it should. Data profiling and mining provide ever-encroaching methods of using data for commercial and potentially invasive purposes.
So yes, you should read privacy policies. They are typically a few pages long at most. Focus on how your data is being used, why, where and how it is being stored and whether this is necessary.
There can be more sophisticated types of use- for example Football Manger uses the personal data of football players- think their names, likeness and injury data. This requires the permission of the players or clubs themselves. In this case usage of the data should be limited narrowly to what it is being processed for. Be sure to specify all your data uses.
For more details on what UK companies need to communicate to users about what data they collect and use see the ICO website.