‘Dark Patterns’ in Consumer Data Privacy Garner Policy Attention
Dark patterns online have gotten attention mostly in academia until recently, when research started informing tech policy, according to Colin Gray, a professor at Purdue University who studies the topic. He said the phrase first emerged about a decade ago to describe digital designs that use inferences from behavioral psychology to convince consumers to act in a certain way.
California’s first-in-the-nation ban on web and app designs that make it difficult for consumers to control use of their data for advertising could usher in greater regulatory scrutiny of tech companies’ privacy practices.
The state’s rules also could interplay with the FTC’s look at dark patterns, by pushing federal regulators to consider more detailed proposals for dealing with design concerns, according to Christopher Savage, a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s privacy and security group.