Let’s be honest, how many people read the full Terms and Conditions? These very long texts are known to have important data when registering on a website, but their length and the way they are written do not help us to want to read them. This could change.
Every time we register on a page or some applications are updated, the famous Terms and Conditions of Use appear, and to be honest, very few people read them. Now, if they are so important and explain to us what we accept (or not) when using an application or registering somewhere, why don’t we read them? Lots of text. For this reason, a group of US lawmakers wants to force companies to publish a summary.
Obviously, the ideal would be for everyone to read every word of the Terms and Conditions, but either we trust the regulators to be vigilant and not steal so much data from us, or we don’t want to waste so much time on those endless texts. As for this last reason, Visual Capitalist created a list with the average reading time of an adult when reading the privacy agreements of different applications. Here we leave the photo.
The Washington Post explains that a bipartisan group of US lawmakers is “pressing” so that users can stop to read the terms and conditions and understand them better. Their goal is to “make easy-to-digest summaries of your conditions, like a nutrition label.”
The project known as TLDR (for the acronym in English of Too Long, Didn’t Read) requires sites to have a summary not only to make it easier to understand the T&C but also to make it clear when there is any kind of data breach and if so, what kind of personal information the page collected. Health, location, gender, age, religion, are some of the data that a site could store.
According Lori Trahan, one of the deputies that is promoting this law, companies take advantage of the fact that users ignore and accept these terms without reading them in order to further expose their personal information and use it in their favor. What’s more, Trahan He also added that the length and the way in which the texts are written means that users cannot make “informed decisions” about whether or not it is worth registering on a website or platform.
This project wants to strengthen digital services, more than anything that of social networks, so that they are more transparent with users and their practices, including data collection. The TLDR Act would apply to commercial websites and apps, but would exempt some small businesses. Organizations such as the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and prosecutors would be responsible for enforcing this law, which is still under discussion.
Although it takes time for this project to become a reality, there are already companies that are summarizing its terms. In the app store you can see what data the applications use to track us or to link with us and short explanations of what exactly each parameter is. Other examples are 500px and Pinterest. Both companies put the full Terms and Conditions on one side, while the summary can be seen on the other. Below we leave photos:
This is not the first time that the little attention given to the Terms and Conditions has been discussed: in 2014 a survey showed that only 7% of users read that text, in 2017, another survey exposed that 97% of users between the ages of 18 and 34 agreed to the terms without reading. You, did you ever read them?