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August 8, 2012 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Terms of Service; Didn't Read examines ToS and Privacy Policies for you, rating them from a user rights perspective.
posted by Memo (13 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Accept.
posted by Fizz at 10:20 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Be sure to read the EULA, or risk getting your mouth sewn to another person's anus.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate that episode of South Park (and increasingly, South Park in general). Good site though.
posted by JHarris at 10:40 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can tell you right now that this isn't going to significantly increase the percentage of people who have read and understood even one EULA in their entire lives. I mean even if the digests were only one sentence long, almost nobody is going to see a EULA, think "Oh I know, I'll go over to TS;DR and check this out," and then go over to this site and look up the EULA for whatever piece of software it is that they're thinking of installing.

And nobody gives a crap anyway. I mean, we all know (well, lots of us know) that Facebook has its tentacles so far up its users' asses that we're all getting heartburn from the suckermarks on our esophagi, but it's not like they're losing a lot of users because of it. (OK, a few, but they're probably the company that is most well-known in the entire world for being a privacy-trampling juggernaut and in the grand scheme of things even they are really raising nothing more than subdued grumblings over their behavior.) The EULA for Microsoft Office could come with a big red flashing sign right on it that said "WE WILL STEAL YOUR KIDNEYS AND SELL THEM TO A BLACK-MARKET ORGAN FARM" and I bet that 95% of their users would just shrug and say, "Well, what am I going to do, use LibreOffice?" and click "Accept" regardless.

It's really something that is not going to be solved until people get fed up to the point that they demand legislative action, I think. That may eventually happen, but no user-awareness campaign is going to get people to think twice about what software they install on the basis of a nuanced understanding of the Terms of Service for all the software and web services that they use. It's a noble cause, but a losing battle.
posted by Scientist at 10:50 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Careful, you're ruffling the capitalist Illusion of Freedom(TM).
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:00 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, I thought it was: Too Stupid ; Didn't Read
posted by dno at 11:01 AM on August 8, 2012


Reading a EULA is one thing. Understanding a EULA is another thing entirely.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:10 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I'd like to see is, when a ToS is revised, and displayed to the user, that a DIFF be given to show, what and where things have changed, side by side. Most people don't read the full thing, but if the part that has changed is given people might check out the few sentences that have changed just to be safe, a quick glance or two to see if any shady changes have been made.
posted by symbioid at 11:27 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Scientist, I think that this sort of thing could be a useful tool in an effort to create legislation. It pulls out the key bits and compares them across companies in a way which would be really helpful if someone had, for example, 10 minutes with Senator ExampleSenator to convince her that tis was a real issue.

If I were that person, I'd pair it with this study on how long it would take for everyone to actually read EULAs.
posted by feckless at 11:43 AM on August 8, 2012


I was under the impression that EULAs and ToSes are legally unenforceable and hence basically meaningless except for some sort of vague impressions about what a company might intend to do with your data. Do they actually have legal force?
posted by Copronymus at 12:42 PM on August 8, 2012


I find this project pretty neat. As someone who has very little legal knowledge and average internet knowledge (and absolutely zero interest in understanding how TOS's work), I appreciate seeing how much control each site has over the information we share and what they do with that information in a simple to understand "how does this REALLY affect me" kind of way.

I had no idea certain sites wouldn't let you delete an account.

symbioid: One thing I'd like to see is, when a ToS is revised, and displayed to the user, that a DIFF be given to show, what and where things have changed, side by side.

This is what I like about Apps on my tablet from the GooglePlay and Amazon stores. When they want an update, it tells me what permissions change. I have uninstalled a few apps because permissions changed that I wasn't comfortable with.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I'd like to see is, when a ToS is revised, and displayed to the user, that a DIFF be given to show, what and where things have changed, side by side.

Amen. I used to try to read them all, but I gave up when confronted with banks that seemed to change my terms on a monthly basis without any notice of what was actually being changed. I can read through it once when I open the account but I don't have time to re-read them every month.

I was under the impression that EULAs and ToSes are legally unenforceable and hence basically meaningless except for some sort of vague impressions about what a company might intend to do with your data. Do they actually have legal force?

Yes. There are certain terms that may be unenforceable in some jurisdictions.

This is what I like about Apps on my tablet from the GooglePlay and Amazon stores. When they want an update, it tells me what permissions change. I have uninstalled a few apps because permissions changed that I wasn't comfortable with.

What would be better is the ability to decide yourself which permissions apps can have. Right now you can only do this by jailbreaking.
posted by grouse at 1:42 PM on August 9, 2012




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