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Old 05-22-2019, 09:31 AM   #1
frankbell
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The Labor of Terms of Service


In the Sunday New York Times, Jennifer Senior had an interesting piece about social media, search engines, and privacy. Much of it is some pseudo-psychological musing about why internet users don't seem to be concerned or sensitive to issues of privacy. (Her conclusion seems to be that, since persons surf the web alone--even if they are in a group--they don't realize that Big Data is watching or realize the implications of said watching.)

But there was one hard little nugget of fact that I thought you all might find interesting:

Quote:
Let’s consider, just as an example, why we are forever skating past the internet’s fine print. In 2008 — 2008! before Instagram, before Uber, before WhatsApp! — two of Acquisti’s colleagues at Carnegie Mellon calculated just how long it would take for the average internet user to read the privacy policies of all the websites he or she visited in a single year. Their answer: over 30 workdays, at a national opportunity cost of $781 billion.
 
Old 05-23-2019, 01:16 AM   #2
ondoho
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well fortunately the law is slowly, slowly catching up to all this.
my understanding of it (at least how it is practiced in the 2 European countries I have spent signifcant time in) is that you cannot simply demand "unreasonable" things from users. Like having "unreasonable" things in your TOC, or taking an unreasonable amount of time to read it all... and I'm pretty sure precedence cases already exist.

BUT - "unreasonable" is a very fuzzy term, and development of a legal framework for the www is really really slow and often veering off in the wrong direction (upload filters my a**e).
 
Old 05-23-2019, 03:49 AM   #3
cynwulf
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If you even attempt to read the ToS of a certain "social network", you will find that it essentially requires proper evaluation by a legal professional before anyone should attempt to agree to it - tell that to the billions who signed up without reading it.
 
Old 05-23-2019, 07:45 AM   #4
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Yeah, the legal entities posting these terms of service are expecting that users will not read them. Most people just want facebook, twitter, etc, they don't want to go through a 900 page legal document. Having said that, once the actual terms in the ToS come to light, they are outraged. The organizations with the ToS are being "transparent" but just putting out a legal document doesn't help because it's cryptic to most people. They need to have a couple of versions: one in "legalese" and one in plain terms user's can understand. That costs time and $ and my thought is frankly, organizations like this simply don't want to make the effort. They have covered their legal behinds and that's good enough for them.
 
Old 05-23-2019, 08:05 AM   #5
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Not that this site's Terms and Conditions/rules are unreasonable; I'm not sure I even read them for this site when I first joined up. I don't remember reading them anyway, but I have since. I think most people just wouldn't read them, particularly for "social media" sites. Particularly if you've almost got to be a lawyer (if not) to properly understand them...
 
Old 05-23-2019, 08:43 AM   #6
cynwulf
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This site, as with most forums, expects you to agree with "forum rules" - more of a "code of conduct" than a ToS. Not a legal document.

If you don't read it, then at the worst you can fall foul of the rules and get banned from the site for good. This equates to the owner of the site kicking you off their site - as is their right.

I believe this site records your email address, registration IP address, IP address and user agent string for every post - but it is not practicising anything near the level of data collection/mining of a social network site, data which in a large part is willingly willingly submitted by the user - stored in "the cloud" at who knows where and accessible to who knows...

(I am not going to get into the subject of the ads / google analytics at the site as that's been covered countless times)

The willing sign ups to "social network" didn't care about their data, human rights, privacy, security, etc in the first place, when they don't read the legal document and just sign it all away, so the multi billion $ corporation who's CEO calls it's users dumb***** certainly doesn't care either. If it messes up, it does it's utmost to cover that up - as it has demonstrated repeatedly over the years. It knows that despite this, it will blow over and said dumb***** will still be there.

Last edited by cynwulf; 05-23-2019 at 08:45 AM.
 
Old 05-23-2019, 09:17 AM   #7
jsbjsb001
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Yeah, but you can remove your email address altogether from this site, from what I understand. I think your IP is only recorded for moderation purposes - in case you are a spammer, break the rules, and alike.

Maybe Frank should do a poll; "Do you even bother to read the Terms and Conditions?"

It would be interesting to see what the result was...
 
Old 05-23-2019, 11:46 PM   #8
ondoho
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I will try to give a non-internet example:
If a landlord asks a tenant to sign a contract, and it later tranpires that that contract was wrong because it exploits the tenant or makes unreasonable demands, that contract becomes void and the "default rent agreement contract" is used instead.
Similar things apply to regular business contracts too.
already existing law like this should be applied to internet contracts too, and I'm actually sure that it already does, at least in theory.

In other words, you can't just hide unreasonable stuff in an extremely long TOS and then say: see, you signed it! i win!

but it's all just too easy to breach in an international context, especially on the internet, and it has become general practice to do this on purpose. what the user doesn't know, and what the legal experts don't understand, doesn't hurt them.
but, again, international contracts aren't actually an invention of the internet, so it's "just" a question of applying (and extending) existing law.
 
Old 05-24-2019, 02:43 AM   #9
fido_dogstoyevsky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
...(I am not going to get into the subject of the ads / google analytics at the site as that's been covered countless times)...
The good news about LQ is that ads and google are easy to block (the former by registering and the latter by script blocking) without breaking the site.
 
Old 05-24-2019, 03:49 AM   #10
cantab
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Most online "Terms of Service" can be summed up simply anyway. The company has all the rights and you have none.
 
Old 05-27-2019, 11:09 PM   #11
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
Most online "Terms of Service" can be summed up simply anyway. The company has all the rights and you have none.
Not at all. You have the right to read the terms of service.
 
Old 05-28-2019, 08:30 AM   #12
Contrapak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
I believe this site records your email address, registration IP address, IP address and user agent string for every post - but it is not practicising anything near the level of data collection/mining of a social network site, data which in a large part is willingly willingly submitted by the user - stored in "the cloud" at who knows where and accessible to who knows...
That we know of
 
Old 05-29-2019, 11:39 PM   #13
ondoho
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yeah, "willingly"...

I love what South Park made of the topic 8 years ago. Always so absurd yet so close to reality.
What has changed since then - in Europe, in the USA, elsewhere?
(I mean changes that are relevant to the topic)
 
  


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