DocDecoder: A Universal Solution to Web Policy Ignorance

TLDR; No-one reads Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policies. The DocDecoder browser extension uses GPT-4 to generate clear, concise summaries of any website's legal policies for you to skim over before you accept them.


Our interactions with websites and online services are governed by a complex web of legal agreements, including Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policies, and User Agreements. These documents are critical as they outline our rights, responsibilities, and the privacy of our personal data.

Despite their ubiquity, they are often lengthy, filled with complex legal terminology, and presented in a manner that discourages engagement. This leads to a widespread tendency among users to agree to these terms without understanding their content.

An experiment by underscores this trend, in which they got 99% of survey respondents to surrender "naming rights to their firstborn child", by hiding it in a clause of the terms and conditions.

When users blindly accept these terms, they often unknowingly consent to practices that may compromise their privacy, autonomy, and even financial security.

DocDecoder is a novel solution crafted to address one of the internet's oldest yet most significant problems - the ignorance of web policies. It uses GPT-4 to distill extensive legal texts into concise, easily digestible summaries. These summaries are not mere truncations but insightful syntheses of key points, highlighting aspects that have the most direct impact on the user.

DocDecoder empowers users to make informed decisions about their online interactions. This is not just a convenience tool; it's a step towards fostering a more informed, responsible, and privacy-conscious online world.

How DocDecoder Works

GPT-4 is the cornerstone of DocDecoder's functionality, enabling it to transform complex and verbose web policies into succinct, easily understandable 'summaries'. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of DocDecoder's process:

1. URL Input: Users start by inputting the URL of a website's policy page into the DocDecoder Chrome extension.

2. Policy Content Extraction: Once the URL is entered, DocDecoder retrieves the text of the entire policy page.

3. AI Analysis and Summarisation: The core of DocDecoder's functionality lies here. GPT-4 analyses the policy text, identifying key points, terms, and clauses. It then distills this information into concise bullet points and 3 sections including Things to watch out for, AI recommendations, and Predicted FAQs. For privacy policies, an additional section is added to the summary called "Data collection", which lists all the types of data the service intends to collect about you.

4. Categorisation and Color-Coding: The summarised points are categorised into three distinct groups for user convenience:

  • Green points represent clauses likely to have a positive effect on the user.
  • Grey points indicate neutral, factual information that has neither a distinctly positive nor negative impact.
  • Red points highlight clauses that could potentially have a negative impact on the user. These are prioritised at the top of the summary for immediate visibility.

Through this process, DocDecoder effectively demystifies web policies, turning them from daunting texts into accessible knowledge. This not only saves users time but also significantly enhances their ability to make informed decisions about their online interactions.

Transparency and Open Source

Transparency is not just a feature; it's a necessity. Recognising this, DocDecoder is committed to being as open as possible, both in its operations and its development.

Chrome extensions are open-source by nature. All of DocDecoder's extension files and assets can be viewed via its public GitHub Repositiory.

DocDecoder will NEVER use trackers, ads, or analytics in the main extension.

We don't store any content from the pages you visit. To verify this, ask ChatGPT to explain our content.js script.

DocDecoder's GitHub repository is not just a code repository; it's a platform for dialogue and feedback. Users can raise issues, request features, or provide feedback. This open line of communication ensures that DocDecoder remains responsive to its users' needs and evolves in line with their expectations.

Intended Impact

The necessity of a tool like DocDecoder is highlighted by the alarming statistics around digital policy engagement. A study by Deloitte revealed that the vast majority of internet users accept legal terms and conditions without reading them (91% aged 35+, and over 97% aged 18-34). Furthermore, Pew Research Center findings suggest a widespread lack of understanding about data privacy laws among the general public, with 63% of Americans admitting to little or no knowledge about the regulations protecting their data privacy.

DocDecoder aims to be a catalyst for change. Our main intention is to give power back to the user.

Where possible, we also want to expose companies who's terms undermine consumer rights or exploit their users. One way we intend to do this is via our blog, The Privacy Probe.

Future Directions and Commitments

As DocDecoder continues to evolve, its journey is guided by a steadfast commitment to its foundational goal: to provide a universally accessible solution to the challenge of understanding web policies.

We are dedicated to refining the AI summarisation process, ensuring that it remains accurate, efficient, and attuned to the nuances of legal language. This includes regular updates to the AI model, adapting to changes in legal terminologies and user feedback, and improving the user interface for an even more seamless experience.

Beyond technical enhancements, DocDecoder is poised to expand its scope and reach. This expansion is twofold: firstly, to increase accessibility by developing versions compatible with other browsers and platforms, thus reaching a wider audience; and secondly, to broaden the range of document types it can analyse, potentially extending its services beyond standard web policies to other complex legal documents encountered by users in their digital lives.

A key aspect of DocDecoder's future is its commitment to remaining a free tool for its basic, essential services. This decision stems from a belief that access to such a tool should not be limited by financial barriers. While there may be the introduction of paid plans, these will focus on offering additional convenience features. The core functionality, the summarisation of web policies, will remain free for all users.

Moreover, DocDecoder envisions fostering a more engaged user community. This involves not only responding to user feedback and suggestions but also encouraging active participation in the development process through its open-source platform. By involving users in its evolution, DocDecoder aims to remain a tool that truly reflects and serves the needs of its community.


The launch of DocDecoder marks a pivotal moment in the quest to address one of the internet's most longstanding challenges: the widespread lack of understanding of web policies. DocDecoder introduces a user-friendly solution that transforms the daunting task of navigating legal documents into a manageable and informative experience.

The implications of this innovation are far-reaching. It embodies a shift towards a more transparent, informed, and responsible digital world - a world where users can confidently assert their rights and understand their obligations.

As we look to the future, DocDecoder's commitment to continual improvement and responsiveness to user needs promises to keep it at the forefront of digital literacy tools. It's a commitment that goes beyond mere technical updates; it's about upholding a vision of an internet where clarity, consent, and user empowerment are not just ideals but realities.

Founder note

Hi! My name's Josh and I'm the sole founder of DocDecoder. I'm adding this note to introduce myself and answer the question of who's behind the project. My personal email is, if you'd like to contact me.

I had the idea for this project earlier in 2023. It seemed like an obvious use-case for GPT, and I was shocked that it didn't already exist. Around August, I started watching black mirror (the TV series), and there's one episode called 'Joan is Awful'. The premise of the episode is a woman who signs up for Netflix (or Streamberry, as it's called in the show), accepts the terms of use, and goes about her life. When she gets home from work, she notices a new show on Streamberry called 'Joan is Awful'. Long story short, Streamberry's terms of use included a clause permitting them to digitally clone the user, and use their likeness in any way they want. I remember finishing the episode with a huuuge drive to start the project because it really clicked how big the issue is - so big, that black mirror made an episode about it. It effects everyone, everywhere, and we're all helplessly aware of it.

I really believe in this project. Thank you for reading :)