You are probably starting to get numerous emails announcing changes to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy agreements for the year 2020. In the past month, I’ve received such emails from Twitter, Uber, YouTube, and LinkedIn to name a few. Most of the emails describe policy modifications that benefit the end-user – YOU. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip these notifications altogether. 

Agreements without Attention

An interesting experiment was performed on 543 college students, offering them the chance to join a fake social network. All they had to do was read the fine print and accept a click-to-agree contract. Over three-quarters of the students accepted the agreement without reading the required legal documentation.

Much to their chagrin, they skipped right over the paragraph that bound them to name their first-born child “NameDrop”, the title of the mock social app. While this research study generated some laughs, it came with a sobering realization of how blindly we submit ourselves to agreements without attention.   

This doesn’t mean that Terms of Service agreements are all bad, in fact, they are necessary to protect both the business and the user. It just means that we should have the integrity to pay attention.

It’s important to note that many privacy policies are actually incomprehensible to the average person. In addition, many argue that without signing their rights over, access to certain software is prohibited. While we may not be able to avoid them altogether, I strongly encourage you to read the fine print with an attempt to understand it, in order to keep yourself from future frustration. 

Skip Now, Pay Later

If we knew we would lose money or rights to our data and privacy right off the bat, would we think twice before clicking “Agree”? Even further, what does it say about us when we check a box affirming that we’ve read the fine print when we really haven’t? Are we really that busy? How many Terms of Service documents prevent us from taking cases to court if we accept them? 

At the end of the day, it’s really not hard to do – all it takes is a desire to pay attention. The most effective action you can take is to read and understand EVERYTHING you sign BEFORE you sign it.

Stuck in a legal bind? Schedule a consultation TODAY.

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Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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