Terms and Conditions May Apply Documentary

“Our data is our digital identity – and we need to reclaim control” – Cullen Hoback

Today I watched the documentary ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’ which examined the erosion of privacy that we are facing in the digital age. Directed by Cullen Hoback, it dives into the contractual terms of user-service agreements used on Internet sites such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. It also looks into how companies and governments learn about the nature of every single person based on their Internet and mobile phone usage.

Every service we now sign up with now comes with a legal binding contract. Hoback gave the example, from 2010, of when the gaming company ‘Gamestation’ put in their terms of sale for one day that anyone who makes a purchase via their online store agreed to the sale of their soul…yes I did just say soul. This was of course an attempt to show that nobody reads those lengthy terms and conditions and select ‘I Agree’ without a second thought. As a result 88% of customers did not read them, giving legal ownership of the customers soul over to the retailer.

This has totally changed my perspective on these companies and will probably affect how I will use them in the future, in the age of all these technological advancements it can be hard to know who to trust with our personal information. If you haven’t seen it yet I would definitely have a watch (currently streaming on Netflix UK).

References:

– Hoback, C., 2013. Our data is our digital identity – and we need to reclaim control. The Guardian [online]. 19th September 2013. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/19/data-digital-identity-cullen-hoback [Accessed on 18 June 2014].

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