Dark Patterns: Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice, Heck Fool Me for Decades

March 18, 2021

I find “dark patterns” interesting. Whether one is used by T-Mobile to make it almost impossible to opt out of the firm’s data slurping and selling biz or the Facebook trick of making “log out” tough to see. There are other, more ingenious methods; for example, if you want to read a super duper white paper, just provide a name and email address. The action flips the switch on spam and scam operations. (Who doesn’t enjoy cybersecurity solutions which cannot detect SolarWinds and Exchange type breaches for three, six, 12 months, or more.

I read “California Bans Dark Patterns That Trick Users into Giving Away Their Personal Data.” The write up reports:

The concept [Dark Patterns] was coined in 2010 but is slowly being addressed in US legislation, with California this week announcing that it is banning the use of dark patterns that stop users from opting out of the sale of their personal data.

The idea of tricking users began a long time ago. The fine P.T. Barnum said:

There’s a sucker born every minute.

How about those free online services?

The article makes clear that regulators are quick to act. Those using dark patterns have to mend their ways in 30 days.

Then what? Let’s use a free online service and free email to share ideas. I have a better idea. Let’s use Clubhouse to discuss options.

Stephen E Arnold, March 18, 2021


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