US wants easy-to-understand ‘terms and conditions’ for everyone

A bill soon to be passed by the U.S. Congress could require websites, app makers, and technology companies that run operating systems and services to post terms and conditions “in language that’s easy for people to understand.” everybody “.

United States, terms and conditions

For years, terms of service shared by tech companies (and others) have been excessively long, often written in bureaucratic/legal jargon, and very difficult for the average user to understand. This often results in passive acceptance by customers who more often than not even begin to read the terms and conditions offered by a particular service or product.

The new bill proposed to the United States Congress aims to make the terms and conditions much easier for the end user to understand.

A 2012 study found that it would take the average American 76 business days to read offers used by technology companies. Among other things, as mentioned above, due to the complicated language and length of many terms of service documents, the vast majority of users agree without reading any part of the contract.

Lori Trahan, one of the instigators of the bill:

“For too long, blanket terms of service agreements have required consumers to ‘accept’ all of a company’s terms or lose access to a website or app altogether. No negotiations, no alternatives and no real choices. To further the decision in their favor, many companies design unnecessarily long and complicated contracts, knowing that users do not have the expertise and time to read lengthy legal documents when they are simply trying to send a text message to a loved one or to make an online purchase. The potential for abuse is obvious, and some criminals have chosen to leverage these agreements to extend their control over users’ personal data and protect themselves from liability. This is an issue that transcends political parties and requires solutions such as the TLDR Act to provide transparency and greater consumer empowerment. »

Already since 2020, Apple has improved the situation a bit by forcing developers and inserting “privacy labels” for their iOS apps, which summarize in a few words and in a clear way what data the individual apps are accessing.

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