Are You Reading Your Terms of Service?
Jackie here. Are you reading your terms or service and privacy notices like you should? With so many documents filled with complicated legal terms it is certainly easy to be tempted to skip reading a few, but this can come with big consequences for your privacy. Reading those documents might be dull, but it will help you know what you’re agreeing to each time you sign up for an account.
What Are You Giving Away?
An interesting article from the ITRC details the real consequences that can come with not reading privacy policies and terms of service agreements. They detail two specific cases where terms of service gave companies some pretty extensive access into users’ lives. The first example involves user emails that were used by the company in a court case. The company in question was able to access private accounts to prove theft of proprietary information due to a provision included in their user agreement.
Another company providing a residency program for authors included provisions in their terms of service that granted them full rights to the author’s work, something that created quite the outrage among some of the program’s applicants.
The lesson to be learned from both of these instances (as well as countless others out there) is to carefully read the policies associated with your accounts to protect your privacy. Terms of service and privacy policies are legally binding documents and not reading them doesn’t make you immune from their provisions. If you struggle with reading the entire policy, at least skim for the clauses that include how your data can be used and accessed.