lunes, 24 de julio de 2017

How not to agree to clean public toilets when you accept any online terms and conditions | MercatorNet | July 24, 2017 | MercatorNet |

How not to agree to clean public toilets when you accept any online terms and conditions

| MercatorNet  | July 24, 2017 | MercatorNet  |

How not to agree to clean public toilets when you accept any online terms and conditions

How not to agree to clean public toilets when you accept any online terms and conditions

We readily agree despite having little idea about what we are agreeing to
David Tuffley | Jul 24 2017 | comment 1 

How often do you see this when you’re online, whether downloading a new app or software or signing up for some new service?
Click Agree to accept our Terms and Conditions.
You click on it, but then discover you’ve just agreed to give up your future first-born child or clean public toilets for 1,000 hours.
This is what happened recently to more than 20,000 people in the UK when they accepted the terms and conditions for free Wi-Fi that included a commitment to clean public toilets, hug stray dogs, and paint snails’ shells to brighten up their existence.
Thankfully the Wi-Fi provider, Purple, says it is not going to enforce its “Community Service Clause”.
But it makes a good point. Purple says it added the spoof clause to its terms and conditions for a two-week period to see if anyone would notice. It said in a statement:
The real reason behind our experiment is to highlight the lack of consumer awareness when signing up to use free Wi-Fi.
All users were given the chance to flag up the questionable clause in return for a prize, but remarkably only one individual, which is 0.000045% of all Wi-Fi users throughout the whole two weeks, managed to spot it.
Read on, if you dare
We want free online service and free software, and we want it now. So we readily agree to the terms and conditions despite having little idea what we are agreeing to, and the service provider is in no hurry to tell us.
That’s a concern for everyone who readily accepts free Wi-Fi conections in places such as shopping centres, cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, or any other public Wi-Fi hotspots. The Australian Communications and Media Authority said that as of June 30, 2015, an average of 4.23 million people in Australia had used a public Wi-Fi hotspot, either free or paid.
The same concerns apply when it comes to downloading free software and apps which can sometimes come bundled with other software or extensions, often referred to as Potentially Unwanted Programs. If people don’t read the terms and conditions then they won’t know what else they are agreeing to install.
We have been warned about these problems for years and yet the recent Purple example shows that people still haven’t learned.
Earlier this year the consumer group Choice raised the issue of licence agreements, terms-of-use agreements, and terms and conditions that people never read.
It gave the example Amazon’s Kindle Voyage e-reader, which it said had a minimum of eight documents that needed to be read and agreed to when buying the device, as well as documents to be read to use any subscription service.
The total word count is more than 73,000, which Choice said would take about nine hours to read. It even tasked someone to read the lot, but here’s the abridged version.
A shorter version… thankfully.
Properly informed consent
While the great majority of tech companies operate lawfully, if not ethically, the process of getting actual informed consent remains problematic. At present, just clicking Agree will do, regardless of what lies buried deep in the many words of those terms and conditions.
One survey in Britain found that only 7% of people read the terms and conditions carefully when signing up for an online service or product.
These documents are typically written in legalese, meaning that only a trained lawyer would be able to understand them properly. Yet the simple act of clicking on a check-box constitutes informed consent in the legal sense.
That same survey found that one in five people said they had suffered as a result of agreeing to terms and conditions without having read them carefully. One in ten had been locked into a contract for longer than expected because they didn’t read the small print.
Choice says “lengthy and overly complex contracts” should be considered unfair and has called for reform of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to protect people from such agreements.
A readable solution
With billions of dollars at stake, IT companies need to make it clearer just what the consequences of using that product or service will be, including any potential dangers.
If users can give genuinely informed consent, it’s a win-win situation.
For example, if we know we’re agreeing that an online product can use some of our personal information – and we know what that information is – we could receive targeted advertising that might be useful to us, and even be a good fit for our lifestyle.
So how can we do to make sure people are properly informed in plain language about the consequences of using a product or service?
One solution that already works well is the way Creative Commons includes a human readable summary of its licensing conditions. It breaks it down to the basics then highlights anything out of the ordinary.
The ConversationIt’s not difficult to do this, and if you have nothing to hide, the user is unlikely to be scared off by it.
David Tuffley, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics and Socio-Technical Studies, Griffith University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


July 24, 2017

Mercedes-Benz launched a advertising campaign earlier this year to promote its brand with Gen X and Gen Y. The cars are almost invisible in a clutch of beautifully produced videos about "growing up". Of course, the ultimate test of a being grown-up is always going to be owning a Mercedes-Benz, but the campaign aspires to be more subtle that that. It is about having a family as well as a Mercedes-Benz. Check out the videos in the article below -- they aren't cheerful or positive, but they place family squarely on the Gen X/Y agenda. 

Michael Cook

‘Travel agents of death’
By Vincenzina Santoro
Italy is being swamped by African migrants sent on their way by criminal gangs
Read the full article
Migration drives growth in the UK
By Shannon Roberts
The latest figures.
Read the full article
Mercedes-Benz gets all gooey about families. Sort of.
By Michael Cook
Its new advertising campaign shows what family failure looks like. And it's not pretty
Read the full article
How not to agree to clean public toilets when you accept any online terms and conditions
By David Tuffley
We readily agree despite having little idea about what we are agreeing to
Read the full article
How many safeguards do you need to make assisted suicide safe?
By Paul Russell
After reading the report to the government of Victoria, you realise that there can be no safe suicide
Read the full article
Jane Austen’s marriage challenge
By Carolyn Moynihan
We need to make the institution she celebrated great again.
Read the full article
In Japan sex isn’t so appealing
By Marcus Roberts
Which perhaps explains the baby shortage.
Read the full article
The Sufis: Islam’s anti-terrorists
By Robert Carle
Divine love is the antidote to jihadi violence.
Read the full article
The biggest issue of our time
By Marcus Roberts
Why aren't more people talking about demographic collapse in Europe?
Read the full article

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