392 No more agreeing without reading?

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Have you ever clicked “I agree” on your computer without actually reading the long Terms of Service document you’re agreeing to? That may be changing.

Terms of Service

 

Think about it. If you were in some kind of situation in real life, and you were handed a document and told to sign it, would you just sign without reading it? Probably not. But online, almost everyone does that all the time. It’s not that we don’t care about what we’re agreeing to in most cases. I think we just see too many reasons NOT to read it:

  • We’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read this long agreement.
  • We’ve clicked “I agree” many times before, and nothing bad happened.
  • It’s written by a bunch of lawyers and we’re not really going to understand what we’re reading anyway.
  • We need to proceed with whatever we’re doing, so we HAVE to agree to it.

It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon, since we all KNOW we should read something before signing/agreeing, but we are able to rationalize why that reasoning doesn’t apply to an online agreement.

Here in the US, a new bill has been proposed that would change this process – or at least make it easier for the end user. It’s called the TLDR, which stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. The primary result of the bill is that companies will be required to have a “short form” TOS (Terms of Service) that consumers can read ahead of the much longer “legalese” document.

This shorter document would spell out clearly what personal information the user is agreeing to give up, what data is being collected, and what data will be shared with other organizations. It will explain how the user can request that their information be deleted. And it would also list all of the data breaches that the company has had in the past 3 years.

You can read the new bill here.

The whole idea is to give the end-user more control, and force the large companies like Facebook and Google to be more transparent. I think that’s always a good thing. What do you think? Let’s hear your comments.

 

 

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Wally Harrison
February 14th, 2022

I think this is great. Hopefully now we won’t need a lawyer to read all that stuff as those companies count on.

H Davis
February 16th, 2022

My reason for just agreeing is that I need the program or service and there is no opportunity to negotiate different terms. It’s a simple take it or leave it proposition. I usually take it and implement other methods to frustrate the vendor’s ability to gather data; ad blockers, cookie deleting, etc.