You have likely seen the extremely long terms of service that most folks don’t read but have to agree to be able to use everything from software to electronic devices from Apple and other tech firms.
Lawmakers have now introduced a new Congressional bill to require app-makers, websites, device makers, and others to provide a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version of the terms of service in “easy-to-digest language” explaining terms as well as any “sensitive personal data they collect.”
The new TLDR Act proposal is oddly enough named TLDR (for “Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability”).
As reported by The Hill, the act was proposed in both the House and Senate with the Senate version being submitted by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). The act is expected to enjoy bipartisan supports.
House version sponsor Congresswoman Lori Trahan shared an interesting bit of information in a press release today. A study from 10 long years ago shows that it would take the average American 76 workdays to read all of the Terms of Services for products they use.
A 2012 study found that it would take 76 work days for the average American to read the agreements for technology companies they use. Yet, because of the complicated language and length of many terms of service documents, an overwhelming majority of users “Agree” without reading any portion of the contract.
Senator Cassidy called the act “long overdue”:
“Users should not have to comb through pages of legal jargon in a website’s terms of services to know how their data will be used,” Cassidy said. “Requiring companies to provide an easy-to-understand summary of their terms should be mandatory and is long overdue.”