This probably does not come as a shock. Privacy policies are notoriously vague and nearly everyone agrees we need to be doing better. But I literally don't understand even the basic premises about what Unvarnished intends to do with my information. Take the claim that Unvarnished "will never share personal information except as required by law." How do you square this statement with later acknowledgments that Unvarnished may share your personal information with affiliates, or upon business transfer, or whenever they "believe in good faith that release is necessary to ... enforce or apply our conditions of use and other agreements; or protect the rights, property, or safety of Company, our employees, our users, or others"? Is sharing in those circumstances required by law?
I can't even begin to fathom what Unvarnished means when is says that its users "can easily recognize when an affiliated business is associated with your transaction, and we will share your Personal Information that is related to such transactions with that affiliated business." All I can think of is the scene in Good Will Hunting when Chuckie impersonates Will in an interview. "Now the business we have, heretofore, you can speak with my aforementioned attorney. Good day, gentlemen; and until that day comes, keep your ear to the grindstone."
So why does this matter? It matters because Unvarnished is a potentially powerful new platform, the ground rules of which can make a big, real-world difference. What if I say something negative about a friend or coworker? Will they be able to find out? What if someone says something negative about me? How can I as a private litigant seek redress for defamation that ruins my business? Yet in order even to sign on, I have to give up a rich source of personally identifiable information under a set of rules that a privacy attorney can't even follow.
Unvarnished does provide an about page as well as a set of community guidelines. These give the would-be user a sense of the service on offer. But they do not explain the circumstances under which a user will be outed as having written a particular rating or review.
I'm sorry, Unvarnished. You're suspect.