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All it takes is one click to give up your rights. We’re talking about those terms and conditions that none of us read and all of us find an annoying waste of time. While you’re clicking agree to everything without reading anything, you’re actually giving consent to companies to collect personal data, internet history - even your genetics!

Some people may call these absurd terms “Easter eggs” - funny finds that are completely meaningless. However, it doesn’t deny the fact that the companies know we will give consent by default so they can have unfiltered access to our private information.

For instance, Comcast’s Terms and Services has an entire clause on biometric data. By clicking accept, you are allowing them to collect GENETIC information including fingerprints, retina scans, faceprints, voiceprints and more! Why would they need our GENETICS to provide us with wifi? 

 

If you’re an Apple user who is also a nuclear scientist, you better read the Terms and Conditions about listening to Apple Music while at work. According to their Media Services, by accepting the T&Cs you are agreeing to “not [using] these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture, or production of NUCLEAR, MISSILE, CHEMICAL or BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS.”

 

Amazon takes their Terms and Conditions a step further with a clause regarding a Zombie Apocalypse. WE KID YOU NOT!

Under Acceptable Use of Safety Critical Systems, it states "...this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization."

Unless they know something we don’t know, we guess the legal department was just trying to have some fun. Or maybe this was a test to see how many people actually read their terms and services. 

Which brings us to this:

Does a company actually expect us to read a 100-page terms and conditions policy written in pure legal jargon before listening to music we purchased? 

If you were FORCED to read the terms and conditions for all the apps, websites and services you sign up for, before clicking “I agree”... how long would that take? Well, two researchers from Carnegie Mellon calculated it would take an average person about 76 full working days!!! 

Imagine how much that would cost the economy if everyone would have done this. 

Therefore, hitting “I agree” is officially the biggest lie on the internet and companies count on it.

So does this policy hold up in court if the average person literally can’t understand them? Why are these not made easier for ordinary people? 

In the case of Comcast, they noted their ability to collect our genetics without explaining how they plan on doing this and for what. If they don't actually collect our genetics, why add it? It doesn’t make it more simple. 

We always hear “terms are written by lawyers for lawyers.” However, one of the CCPA requirements states that the terms and conditions must be “easy to read and understand.” When many people, us included, see a 20-page privacy policy, we feel overwhelmed. The idea of making something simple is to communicate better.

We want to see an app read OUT LOUD the entire privacy policy before a person can click the “I agree” button. Who is going to wait an hour to listen to a rambling privacy policy be read? No one would ever download an app or register for a service. 

But we wonder, do companies even want this transparency and convenience for the consumer?

The fact is, no one is reading the privacy policies, that is why we need Privacy “Nutrition” Labels -  a fact page - similar to nutrition labels - highlighting the important policies. That would make it easy!

 

Gabriel Friedlander
Written by Gabriel Friedlander

I founded Wizer in early 2019 with a mission to make basic security awareness training free for everyone. Since then Wizer has been rapidly growing with over 3000 organization who signed up for our free training. And in 2020 we partnered with several local counties to offer free Citizen Training. We believe that in this day an age, security awareness should be a basic human skill.