Evaluation Process

The Common Sense Privacy Program created a comprehensive privacy evaluation process for mobile applications and online services that attempts to address some of the common barriers to understanding a product's privacy practices. Users can view our privacy ratings of a product to learn more about its data privacy practices, and whether that data is used to target advertisements or track them.

Privacy concerns and needs vary widely based on the app and the context where it is used. Our evaluation process pairs both a transparency evaluation with a qualitative evaluation, which provides the ability to combine the practices that a policy discloses with the strengths and weaknesses of how a policy discloses that information in different contexts. Click on the following resources below to learn more:

Evaluation Framework

  • Our evaluation process for mobile applications and online services attempts to address some of the common barriers to effectively evaluating privacy practices. Privacy concerns and needs vary widely based on the type of application or service and whether the app is used at home or in the classroom.

Evaluation Scores

  • Every product with a privacy rating includes an overall evaluation score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent and comprehensive privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The overall score is not an average of all the evaluation concern scores, but rather is a percentage of the number of points earned for answering basic evaluation questions.

Evaluation Details

  • Privacy evaluations are designed to categorize the complexity of a product's privacy policies into a simple and consistent framework that provides the right amount of detail and information about a product for every user, and at the right decision point given their awareness and understanding of privacy. Our privacy evaluations aim to provide enough detail about a product based on a scale of a parent or educator's understanding of privacy to help them make a more informed decision and encourage users to learn more about privacy and increase their awareness. The greater an individual's privacy awareness, the more detailed the evaluation information displayed.

Privacy Risks

  • The Common Sense Privacy Program helps parents, teachers, schools, and districts make sense of the privacy risks they may face with our Privacy Ratings that flag areas of concern. Our comprehensive privacy risk assessment can identify these risks and determine which personal information companies are collecting, sharing, and using to help minimize potential harm to children and students.

Intended Users

  • An application or service can have many intended users or just one type of specific intended user. For example, some products are designed for a general audience that does not include kids, but other products are designed to be used exclusively by children or students. In addition, some products are designed for a mixed audience and are intended to be used by anyone including children, teens, students, parents, educators, and consumers. Our ratings are designed to apply to all users.