‘I have read and agree to the Terms + Conditions’ is probably one of the most frequently told lies in the entire online world. The terms and conditions are often seen as an inconvenience or an obstacle, but in reality, it could be the difference between the freedom to browse and a stolen identity.
In June of 2014, Mikko Hyppöen, security expert, spent an entire week actually reading the terms and conditions, before agreeing to anything. After reading through over 146,000 words of confusing legal documents, he set out to prove a point. Backed by Europol (European law enforcement agency), his company F-Secure setup a free WiFi hotspot in London’s financial district. Hidden in the terms and conditions was a “Herod Clause”. In exchange for WiFi, the “recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity.” Six people signed up.
“EULAs (End User License Agreements) suck – we can all agree on that. They shouldn’t be binding, because nobody reads them. But from a legal point of view, they just might be.”Mikko Hyppöten
I don’t know about you, but it makes me rethink every terms and conditions I have ever “read and agreed to.” But incase that didn’t hit close enough to home for you, here are several other examples of terms and conditions from companies we use every single day.
Twitter > They have the rights to all of your content.
iTunes > You don’t actually own any of the music you buy.
Facebook > They can do whatever they want with your photos and information.
Instagram > They are free to use or modify anything you post.
Netflix > They reserve the right to disclose your information AND they don’t guarantee your security.
Spotify > They have access to basically everything stored on your phone. (They even have reports of credit cards being charged without authorization!)
In the long run, it may be worth it to take the extra time to read over what you are agreeing to. When is the last time you read the fine print?