Ever read the Terms of Service for a service you were about to sign up for? Yeah, me neither. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least give it a quick scan to see if anything unusual sticks out.
All the time, we are signing up for services and clicking on “I agree” before reading anything that we are actually agreeing to. Just this past week, it was discovered that users were granting access to their Google accounts by agreeing to the popular app Pokémon Go’s Terms of Service.
Recently, Ars Technica reported on a study written by Jonathan Obar & Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch who are professors at York University and University of Connecticut, respectively. In this study titled “The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy policies and terms of service policies of social networking services” students were asked to sign up for a site called “NameDrop in order to perform a “pre-launch” evaluation.
While we don’t expect anyone to ready every word of every TOS they agree to (we don’t plan to either), we do suggest that users scan the TOS before agreeing to anything, especially if it’s not a largely known service.