What Terms of Service Agreements Really Mean
Do you actually read Terms-of-Service Agreements (ToS)?
Most of us probably sign up for online services or purchase new software without bothering to comb through the ToS’s legalese. It’s just too easy to click the little box next to “I have read and agree to the terms.”
However, problems can emerge for us personally or for our organization because a ToS is usually written to allow the provider of the service to do whatever they want with our information. Below the surface, such providers might share our private or business information with others, or they might track our online movements in detail.
In other words, by agreeing to a ToS document, we might be signing away the right to privacy for our organization or ourselves.
But who wants or has time to wade through mishmash produced by lawyers? Even persons with advanced degrees can hardly understand what they mean.
Fortunately, there is a tool, Terms of Service; Didn’t Read (ToS;DR), that cuts through the gibberish to help us understand what any ToS means.
ToS;DR is an online community project, started in 2012, to help anyone understand ToS agreements from many online services and companies. They solicit and publish new entries from community members.
When you visit their site, you can search for ToS language as published by many online companies. By hovering/clicking on any plain language translation, you can see the original language. There is also a link to view more examples from each organization covered.
Finally, ToS;DR’s own privacy and ToS statements are brief and understandable.
Here’s an example of their translations. Let’s say you search for “Amazon” on ToS;DR’s site. You will find a list of common Terms of Service Agreements for that company.
Amazon Original: “Like many websites, we use ‘cookies’ and other unique identifiers, and we obtain certain types of information when your web browser or device accesses Amazon Services and other content served by or on behalf of Amazon on other websites.”
ToS;DR Translation: “This service tracks you on other websites.”
Try it out to learn what Terms-of-Service really mean for you.
It all boils down to privacy of information. That’s something that a strategic managed service provider can help your business navigate daily. Get in touch for more information.