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Terms of Service: do you read them?

May 15th, 2014

Boring legal texts. Yes, they make it boring on purpose, so you won't dare reading it and just consent to give away your first-born. If only you knew what kind of stuff goes in there, you'd start reading too. Here are some examples of clauses I found that are  unacceptable, followed by my personal comments.

  • "we decide, in our sole discretion, to discontinue the product or service offering you are using"  (they can pull the plug whenever, just because)
  • "you shall not permit any access or use in a United States embargoed country – currently Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria" (you better not be a journalist or a human rights advocate in one of these countries, most organizations I work with deal with at least one of these countries)
  • "you are prohibited from engaging in offensive or illegal activity of any nature" (I've seen pages taken down because someone found anatomical drawings offensive, no kidding)
  • "any dispute shall be governed by the state of Delaware" (what is perfectly normal in your country might be illegal in the USA)
  • "we may sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information" (who needs the NSA when you can just buy it all on
  • "you grant us unlimited right to derive, remove and commercialize any information you provide" (basically, they can use your stuff however they please)
  • "you agree to [company] storing your payment information" (they'll store your credit card information, hopefully not in clear text like I've seen too many do)
  • "we reserve the right to withhold, remove or discard any content available as part of your account, with or without notice" (maybe they'll just silently erase some critical data)

Any other examples?

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