Terms-of-Service Tracking

By on Nov 18, 2010

“Terms-of-Service” policies on websites define how Internet businesses interact with you and inform you about how they may use your personal information. But, if you’re like me, you don’t read these policies — or understand that the terms are constantly changing when you are asked to click “I Agree.”

Now there is a new tool created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called TOSBack: a terms-of-service tracker for 56 different websites, including Facebook, Google, and eBay.

“Terms of service form the foundation of your relationship with social networking sites, online businesses, and other Internet communities, but most people become aware of these terms only when there’s a problem,” said EFF Activism and Technology Manager Tim Jones. “We created TOSBack to help consumers monitor terms of service for the websites they use everyday, and show how the terms change over time.”

At TOSBack.org, you can see a real-time feed of changes and updates to polices from the tracked websites. Clicking on an update brings you to a side-by-side before-and-after comparison, highlighting what has been removed from the policy and what has been added.

The issue of terms-of-service changes — and how and why they are made — has been highlighted many times over the last couple of years. An example earlier this year was when Facebook modified its terms of use. Facebook users worried that the change gave the company the right to use members’ content indefinitely. After a user revolt, Facebook announced that it would restore the former terms while it worked through the concerns that users had raised.

As you implement more websites into your overall marketing and customer relations strategy, one of your risk management strategies is to make sure you understand your rights at each site. TOSBack is a good resource that will help you in this regard.

TOSBack | The Terms-Of-Service Tracker
http://www.TOSBack.org

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