Empirical proof that Terms of Service are "the biggest lie on the Internet"

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, Jul 14, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article makes the oft-made point that few people read terms-of-service. And that's why they are called "the biggest lie on the Internet" - "they are based on the idea that the people who trade their privacy and rights in exchange for a service are making a bargain that they understand and agree to." But suppose people took the hour or so required to read the terms-of-service for these web services. What would change? Could they ever enforce any of their own rights in these terms? If ey are accused of violating a term, could they ever defend themselves in court? Of course not. The "lie" in terms and service agreements is that this is any sort of contract at all. No enforcement means no contract. People know that companies are just going to do whatever they want, and that's why they don't bother reading the terms.

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