Privacy at scale: Introducing the PrivaSeer corpus of web privacy policies

Mukund Srinath, Shomir Wilson, C. Lee Giles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Organisations disclose their privacy practices by posting privacy policies on their websites. Even though internet users often care about their digital privacy, they usually do not read privacy policies, since understanding them requires a significant investment of time and effort. Natural language processing has been used to create experimental tools to interpret privacy policies, but there has been a lack of large privacy policy corpora to facilitate the creation of large-scale semi-supervised and unsupervised models to interpret and simplify privacy policies. Thus, we present the PrivaSeer Corpus of 1,005,380 English language website privacy policies collected from the web. The number of unique websites represented in PrivaSeer is about ten times larger than the next largest public collection of web privacy policies, and it surpasses the aggregate of unique websites represented in all other publicly available privacy policy corpora combined. We describe a corpus creation pipeline with stages that include a web crawler, language detection, document classification, duplicate and near-duplicate removal, and content extraction. We employ an unsupervised topic modelling approach to investigate the contents of policy documents in the corpus and discuss the distribution of topics in privacy policies at web scale. We further investigate the relationship between privacy policy domain PageRanks and text features of the privacy policies. Finally, we use the corpus to pretrain PrivBERT, a transformer-based privacy policy language model, and obtain state of the art results on the data practice classification and question answering tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationACL-IJCNLP 2021 - 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages6829-6839
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781954085527
StatePublished - 2021
EventJoint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, ACL-IJCNLP 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 1 2021Aug 6 2021

Publication series

NameACL-IJCNLP 2021 - 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference

Conference

ConferenceJoint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, ACL-IJCNLP 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/1/218/6/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Privacy at scale: Introducing the PrivaSeer corpus of web privacy policies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this