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'Dark patterns' steer many Internet users to make bad decisions
June 26, 2019

From the Los Angeles Times:

Even if you've never heard the phrase "dark patterns," you're almost certainly familiar with them. They're the sneaky ways online companies trick you into agreeing to stuff you'd normally never assent to.

Classic example: You encounter a prompt asking if you want to sign up for some program or service, and the box is already checked. If you don't uncheck it – that is, if you do nothing – you're enrolled.

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress that would prohibit websites and online platforms (hi, Facebook!) from employing such deliberately deceptive tactics, and would empower the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on sites that keep trying to fool people.

The Deceptive Experiences to Online User Reduction Act (a.k.a. the DETOUR Act) is the brainchild of Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). They're hoping the legislation will be included as part of sweeping privacy regulations now under consideration in the Senate Commerce Committee.

Warner and Fischer will be hosting tech and privacy experts on Tuesday for a Capitol Hill seminar on the various ways consumers can be hoodwinked online.

Continue reading at the LA Times...

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