Clicking “I Agree” has become a routine activity. It’s necessary to “Agree” to pages of legalese when installing new apps, completing commercial transactions or whenever a website owner chooses. Do very many people actually know what they just agreed to?
Those terms of service could include some strange conditions. Some of the things people have agreed to – probably without knowing it – would make a reasonable person wonder if they really needed this app. Certain ridiculously inclusive terms of service could also make someone wonder about the company’s legal department.
Airbnb is a popular online vacation and apartment rental service. In their terms and conditions, users must agree not to develop, design, manufacture or product missiles or biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. Not only that, but Airbnb wants to be able to run a credit check on users. Are illegal weapons makers generally truthful?
This car transportation services promises “a ride whenever you need one.” Users must not count on location data being reliable if precise location information is necessary or if inaccurate location data results in personal injury, death or environmental or property damage. Precise location data would seem to be necessary to use the service.
People seem to love genetic testing as a means of learning more about their ancestry. They might be assuming that their DNA will be safeguarded and kept confidential, but customers must agree that their sample can be used in research or potential commercial products without receiving any compensation.
Tinder is one of the most popular dating sites, but users are warned that it’s a “buyer beware” service. Tinder performs no criminal background checks or makes any attempt to verify anything said by users. Perform your own checks on anyone you’re interested in.
Unroll.me is a free email service with some attractive features. They are very particular about how users link to their homepage, as detailed in their terms of service. They aren’t as particular about selling user data to Uber.
It would undoubtedly be a great idea for everyone to understand the terms of service that preceded the “I Agree” button, but that’s probably unrealistic. There are too many demands on everyone’s time to read all the fine print before downloading another great app. However, everyone needs to remember that “buyer beware” is alive and well on the internet.