Fighting Facebook, a Campaign for a People’s Terms of Service

Woodrow Hartzog, eCOTOOL, May 29, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a strong similarity between a "people's terms of service contract" and Creative Commons - both are initiatives intended to move complex legal processes from the darkness of lawyer's offices to the light of common usage. Some of the terms that would be highlighted are laudible - the idea that such agreements could not be arbitrarily changed, that producer data collection practices would be transparent, that companies would respect user copyright, and that industry standard data security measures would be in place. But I question whether I want yet another commercial mechanism invading my private space. I was happier just ignoring terms of service. We know that companies with deep pockets will simply ignore these provisions, just as they ignore Creative Commons. The primary impact will be on the non-commercial sector, and it will simply create more overhead, forcing us all to be a little more commercial, a little colder and a little meaner.

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