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


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/12/empirical-proof-that-terms-of.html


Cory, I appreciate the article, but I’m kinda busy, so… tl;dr.


Dave Gorman did a good routine about not reading T&Cs on his UK tv show (Modern Life is Rubbish) which covered much the same ground (the audience for the show had signed up to some absurd conditions without reading them.)


Have you ever actually read them? A lot are like reading an EULA full of legalese and headache inducing.


“A close read of these documents should take around 45 minutes.”

Shouldn’t that be the headline? That’s ridiculous.


On the plus side, the researchers now have a large number of firstborn children to incorporate into their next study.


Yes, I have.

That’s completely intentional, I’m sure.


I’d imagine this is by design as well.




My sister’s pretty pissed off. As a second-born, she never gets any of these travel opportunities.



Why are there two average reading times?

In any case this is hardly shocking.


Shouldn’t that be the headline? That’s ridiculous

I thought the headline itself was supposed to be ridiculous


It’s there:

pp=privacy policy and tos=terms of service, two different sections


Yeah, they’re impenetrable, making reading them meaningless. (And I’ve contributed to a TOS, with an attempt to make it more readable. I failed.) Which is why I simply assume that TOS ask for my first born child and will give all my information to the NSA (because, let’s face it, it’s probably true).


It kind if begs the question, what would an ethical contract look like, in which the consumer actually had some say in her side of the “agreement” she’d signed onto by opening the shrink wrap? I can imagine some kind of representational authority haggling with the the software maker over terms, and hammering out an agreement. Sort of what union reps are supposed to do, or politicians acting in the public interest. I know, it’s a pipe dream.



Can we nullify it all on the sanity clause?

Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that’s the usual clause. That’s in every contract. That just says uh, it says uh, "If any of the parties participating in this contract is shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified."
Fiorello: Well, I don’t know…
Driftwood: It’s all right, that’s, that’s in every contract. That’s, that’s what they call a ‘sanity clause’.
Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha! You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Sanity Clause!


And of course, theres all those Eula’s and ToS’s that are somehow binding AFTER purchase with things like video games and clothing.

As if I’m not perfectly within my rights to lie to my own property.

What? Everything you are wearing right now comes with a binding agreement that you are subject to by wearing it. Tacit agreement etc.
That you have to go digging online, or even by snail mail to find this information is immaterial.


I have to wonder how our alleged ‘jurists’ sleep at night, knowing how many bullshit contracts of adhesion have effectively replaced law for anyone not fully committed to living in a survivalist bunker off the grid.