Terms Of (Ab)Use
One cannot go online today without eventually being asked to accept a set of so-called Terms of Service (or TOS). These "terms" are actually purported legal contracts between the user and the online service provider (websites MMORPGs communication services etc.) despite the fact that users never get a chance to negotiate their contents and can often be entirely unaware of their existence.
Using a TOS online service providers can dictate their legal relationship with users through private contracts rather than rely on the law as written. In the unregulated and unpredictable world of the Internet such arrangements often provide the necessary ground rules for how various online services should be used.
Yet TOS agreements also raise a number of concerns for the consumer as they can be a vehicle for abuse by online service providers. For starters TOS provisions are usually written by the service providers themselves. As a result they tend to end up being one-sided in the service provider's favor and are often designed to be beyond any judicial scrutiny. Even more importantly most users never even bother to read let alone understand these agreements filled as they are with confusing legalese.
The time has come to shed light on what these Terms of Service agreements actually say and what it means to users. In conjunction with our TOSBack project EFF is working to make the contents of these TOS more transparent for the average user.
EFF Related Content: Terms Of (Ab)Use
- Washington, D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling that threatens to transform a law against computer break-ins into a mechanism for criminalizing password sharing and policing Internet use. In an amicus brief filed with today, EFF urged the court to...
- Date:Mon, 06/05/2017
- In the digital age, a lot depends on whether we actually own our stuff, and who gets to decide that in the first place. In The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Age , Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz walk us through a detailed and...