“I agree to the Terms of Services!”

What if I told you that there was a profile made on you, AND your family (including your teenagers), which essentially had all information including physical features, ID numbers, search history, emails, phone numbers, and more? And finally, what if I told you that you couldn’t do anything because you AND your family agreed to this, without even knowing it? 

Have you ever questioned why these Terms and Conditions you agree to when you use new software and websites are clumped up together, put in small print, and used in Arial font? Have you ever wondered why they are long, and put in confusing and unspecific phrases? Large business empires and companies hide most of their ugly, and eyebrow raising terms and conditions in these documents. The most important, is their privacy policy. While protecting their privacy, they weaken yours. Trust me, this is not something to ignore. 

“Help me, to help you, to help them!” – Yzma, “Kronk’s New Groove”

While businesses might claim that tracking doesn’t harm you at all, and that companies are doing this because they want to help you (show you personalized ads), which helps “me” (the company, because they can sell your data for cash, and improve their customer service), which helps them (all the other hungry companies for data), this in fact poses lots of risks, such as the risk of identity theft, stolen bank account information, the risk of your data being stolen by criminals (data breaches)! This is all in the terms of services you agree to! The problem is not the T&C’s but what companies put inside of them! 

Everyone that is reading this can help change this problem. As a consumer, YOU have THE POWER to boycott the company’s products so they can change their terms and conditions to be more interactive? Why must the dangerous and purposefully boring terms be in a manner where people get bored and are discombobulated to the point where they do not even care about reading the first sentence, and then end up being digitally spied on? Why don’t they make it so that you can agree in sections of the document? Right now, if you disagree to the T&C’s, you can’t use the product at ALL. Why not allow flexibility for the consumer to disagree to some conditions, and get the feature for what they have only agreed? 

To illustrate, such sections of the documents could be a series of (small) text, songs, and other forms of information that pique the human interest and do not lead their attention span astray due to the boredom caused by it. This encourages everyone, from the smallest of kids to the oldest of seniors to be familiar with what they will be giving their consent to. Corporations’ marketing and legal teams must cooperate with one another to figure out how they want to make their T&Cs more interesting in order to receive the customer’s concurrence. As customers, we need to raise our concerns for this topic so that everyone can finally know what they will be agreeing to. 

 About the Author

Taha Khan is a 14 year old male, who lives in the Bay Area with his parents and his sister. He loves to read, write, watch movies, and he always loves a good story. His works are usually illusory yet pragmatic – usually containing creativity. Sometimes, he can be lazy, but if he’s given a chance to do something that he truly loves, he’ll immediately get off the couch. Productive and a procrastinator, Taha lives his life according to how he wants it, and can be a great friend!