I Have Read And Accepted The Terms; Really?

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I have read and accepted the terms - but have you?

It is a popular saying that one of the most popular lies is, “I have read and accepted the terms and conditions”. Terms and conditions, privacy policies, end user license agreements are all long and monotonously boring length of text we’re subjected to each time we use a service for the first time, especially when its free. The problem is, we never read them, and this could be dangerous.

I’ve heard one time that Apple reserved the right to use your iPhone’s camera to take a pic of your surroundings and obtain your location at any given time, this means that you can be having at it with your partner and as at that time, the Apple gods decided to take your iPhone camera for a spin and they take a cute pic of you canoodling with your paramour. Yucky; right?

Apps Too

Take this current Facebook/Instagram debacle. The service changed and reworded its terms of use in such a way that it acquired the right to sell or make use of your pictures without you being notified or being compensated for it. If people didn’t really read this thing, it would have just passed along quietly and in a few months later, you see pics you took of your pretty sister used by cosmetic companies to advertise a facial cream, or even worse use a pic of your frowning lover to make adverts for Viagra. It is good that the company has retraced its steps and back-pedalled immediately.

This reminds me about one link sent to me by a mischievous BBM contact. I opened the link to see a so-called online compatibility calculator. You put the names of the people you wanna check, e.g. your name and your crush’s and then send it on. There was a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that the person has accepted the terms once he clicks the ‘Submit’ button.

I checked what these terms were and I saw that the names you submit would be sent to an email of the person that created that site. In this case, my name and the name of my supposed crush would be sent to that BBM contact (Who remembers BBM – BlackBerry Messenger? – Editor) who sent the link. I’m quite sure that most people would have sent in these info before they got to know about the prank.

How many more of these terms have been seen and accepted by oblivious users? I install a new software today, get to the parts of EULA, scroll scroll scroll, click, “I accept”.

For all I know, the app may have inserted: ‘We’ll track your personal information and use it to hack your online services and you have no right to sue us about it’, or “We’ll give you a curse of the seven hells while you use it”, or “We’ll spy your activities with your webcam and send it to your admirers”. But we just go ahead and click “I have read and accepted the terms”.

The bottom line of my rant is that we should endeavour to take a look at terms and conditions before we agree to them. Happy Post World Destruction Day.

The Future of Terms and Conditions

PS: This section has been added by Mister Mobility in June 2023 and is not a part of the original author’s article. As the world has largely gone video, perhaps it is time for some innovation here. What if smartphone makers create a short video that highlights the key rights and privacy points in these boring, lengthy documents?

Such a video can be played automatically right after your smartphone boots for the first time or right after launching an app for use for the first time. And the user does not get to proceed till the video ends. Sounds like something that can be done. Any takers?

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