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Technology & Innovation

Internet Of The People, By The People, For The People

A proposed People’s Terms of Service Contract would provide a weapon against the often opaque and non-negotiable contracts designed to protect corporations at the expense of users.

What’s the Latest Development?

Recent class action lawsuits and settlements against major social media sites highlight some of the big problems with typical terms-of-service contracts and the customer’s understanding of them. In response, writer Ari Melber, law professor Woodrow Hartzog, and philosophy professor Evan Selinger propose the creation of a “People’s Terms of Service Contract” that could be pressed onto existing companies and used as a model for new companies. The contract would evolve from discussions and common consensus among interested users and consumer advocacy groups, and it would be short and written in easily understandable English.

What’s the Big Idea?

Melber, Hartzog and Selinger say that common terms-of-service contracts “are not designed to protect us. They are drafted by corporations, for corporations. There are few protections for the users—the lifeblood powering social media.” Although it would be all but impossible to bring millions of people with different attitudes towards privacy to a single consensus, they say that the new contract would at least provide a baseline for expectations and a more two-sided relationship between company and customer.

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Read it at The Nation


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