The Facebook TOS debacle last week shined a rare light on the subject of rights we give away when we sign up to use site or service.
Though Facebook’s new TOS, which removed the clause that lets users end their license granted to Facebook by deleting their work, was both of poor judgment and very worrisome, it was likely much ado about. Not only was the TOS rescinded shortly after the controversy began, but even with the new TOS, Facebook’s rights were still limited by the user’s privacy settings.
What has gotten significantly less attention is the sheer number of TOS’ that most Web users sign just as part of being on the Web. In an age where almost every site is also a “service”, it seems we’re creating more accounts than ever and, with every sign up, signing away more and more of our rights.
Most of us have lost track of all the sites we have registered for, the agreements we have signed and few of us actually take the time to even skim the terms that we do accept. Our rights to our online lives are in millions of pieces, scattered across countless companies and sites.
Piecing them back together, if it became necessary, could be nearly impossible. Worse still, as many of these companies continue to expand and grow the rights they give themselves via their TOS,
It has come time to question our love affair for new services and the terms they force us to agree to and seek ways to streamline and simplify this very messy process. [Read more…]