Backhanded switches to your TOS: now available as handy RSS feed

7 June 2009

Terms of Service (TOS) agreements have long plagued customers of every service known to man, mainly because most are about as easy to read as a PhD thesis in Corporate Condescension whilst retaining entertainment-values close to Heat Magazine.

Unfortunately though, we should read this impenetrable mass of jargon because otherwise we don’t know what we’re signing up for. And even if you plough through the brain-liquidising agreements once - they can be subject to change.

Earlier this year, Facebook overlords suddenly removed a key piece of their TOS, making it possible for them to use and abuse information you’d uploaded to the site: even if you quit. Luckily on this occasion, the staggeringly inane switch was noticed, publicised and brandished by hordes of angry users. Facebook reverted to its previous TOS within a few days.

There are other examples but we shan’t dwell... for to the rescue comes the splendidly-named TOSBack – a site which monitors and reports on TOS changes across a range of services. Okay so it doesn't translate the changes like some sort of legal babelfish, but it does highlight exactly when and where they are so you can inspect without having to wade through the whole thing over again at random. And change notifications are provided as an RSS feed. Excellent work.

It currently monitors 44 policies (including the Facebook Privacy Policy, eBay UA and GoDaddy Universal Terms Of Service) but this should increase in time. Perhaps yes, there will come a day when sneaky changes amongst the legalese recesses of all organisations will be brought smartly to attention. That shall be a good day.

In the meantime, TOSBack is surely a positive step forward.


TOPICS:   Social Media


  • Amanda H.
    Can someone translate all that for me?
  • Lumoruk
    Amanda - you can now get more bullshit delivered direct to your computer

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