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+ - Surprising Things Lurk In 'Terms of Service' Agreements

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Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Time Magazine reports that every web company has a different definition of the words “fair” and “privacy,” so users should pay a little more attention to what they’re signing away when they click “Agree” on the registration page. For example, while most photo-sharing apps and websites, such as Instagram, reserve the right to use, delete, modify or publicly display your photos, the Twitter-based photo-sharing program Twitpic goes a step further by granting these rights to Twitpic’s affiliates. In 2011 the company inked a deal to sell photos to the World Entertainment Celebrity News Network. That means if you go into paparazzi mode, snap an exclusive photo of Justin Bieber, and put it on Twitpic, the company can sell it without crediting or compensating you. A 2008 study by Carnegie Mellon professors found that the average Internet user encounters almost 1,500 privacy policies a year, each about 2,500 words in length but now one website is offering to do the line-by-line reading for you, offer a quick and dirty version of the main points, and grade websites on the fairness of their user agreements. Sites are rated in categories such as content ownership, use of tracking cookies, and terms of service readability and so far the site, Terms of Service; Didn’t Read, has gathered information on more than thirty popular websites. Hugo Roy, the leader of the project, says terms of service agreements are the biggest lie on the web. “Their legal value is based on the fact that they get ‘accepted’ by users, while almost none of them even bother to read them.""
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Surprising Things Lurk In 'Terms of Service' Agreements

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