Do you take the time to fully read every Terms of Service (TOS) before you click your consent to them? If you said “No”, well, you’re not alone. In fact, if you said “Yes”, then studies suggest you are probably lying, as studies show that nobody reads those Terms of Service.
According to Chicago Law Professor Omri Ben-Shahar, author of More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure, the actual number of consumers who fully and completely read Terms of Service before agreeing to them is actually zero.
Says Ben-Shahar, in an NPR interview, “And when I say nobody, I’m not rounding up a small number to zero. The actual – the number is actually zero.”
The problem, of course, is that more and more privacy-intruding practices are being foisted on unsuspecting users all the time, and they unwittingly grant permission for these intrusions, as that permission is buried deep within those impenetrable Terms of Service.
Explains Shahar, of the services, such as Facebook, Google, and Apple, who all have TOS that are 50 or more pages long, “They perceive the problem that they might be sued for using people’s private information without consent. And because of that, they try to protect themselves to avoid lawsuits. But in the area of data collection and privacy concerns, it seems that what’s going on in this market is a grand bargain. The businesses give you these fantastic services, Google Search, Facebook and many other things, for free. You, in return, give us the information, and we commercialize it by selling it to advertisers and sending you targeted ads. Now, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use our service.”
You can read Shahar’s full NPR interview here.
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