The Biggest Lie: Changing the Terms of Service (TOS)

Geek Smack! Show

Geek Smack!

Quiet week before I have to make the run to California. In the Geek News section, I talk about Paul and Norbert of Caffination and Totally cool tech. They both have decided to end their shows after years of podcasts. It’s a sad week on that, and I wish them well. I don’t think it’s the last time I see either of those two. I raise my glass and go “Huzzah”!

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Geek Smack! episode 235 Tech News:

Google+ Vanity URL
– Rolling out to limited verified accounts for now.
Companies Building Surface Tablets
– 3 new companies join the fray
Acer 14 inch P243
– New TravelMate business laptop for $700
Facebook at 235 million Gamers
– 150 monthly visitors. Gaming is rampant on Facebook.
Twitter Predicted Romney VP
– We might just see a new use of Twitter – prediction analysis.
Blackberry 10
– Might be licensed by handset rivals so RIM can stay afloat
Broadband Subscribers Drop
– Phone companies are seeing a drop in broadband subscriptions
Google Frommer’s
– Google’s latest acqusition can help keep them ahead of Siri
Drupal gets Mollom
– An Akismet-like company, this will help reduce spam on Drupal sites
Twitter Fakes
– This app will help you figure it out.
Intern Builds Caption Editing
– A process where you can edit a line of CC on YouTube, not the whole script

Facebook Acquisition of BLINQ
– $92 Million purchase for a company worth 3.1 million

Geek Smack! Geek News:

Etsy – Cracking down on Skulls, drugs
Yahoo! – #HashOut Social Talk
Food – Make 30 Rock Cheesy Blasters
Infographic or Olympics – Best 2012 Olympic Moments
Dr Who – TARDIS Engagement Ring
Watch – Kisai Upload Watch
Analytics – What songs you like
LEGO or Pixar – The Story of LEGO

Geek Smack: Goodbye Google on iPhone

OK. So you join that new social network, or online software, even create an account for storage. While filling out the fom, you have this checkbox – do you agree with the Terms of Service? Sure! Check and go.

But what are you really checking? There literally could be a line in a TOS that says the company has every right to come over to your house and take food out of the fridge. You just agreed to it, so you might as well just open the front door.

That probably wont happen. But there are other TOS that could be just as dangerous. For instance, they might not be liable if a 3rd party hacks in and deletes your account. It might be their security hole, but it’s not their problem.

Reading and understanding these things can be a pain. However, a new project called TOS;DR, or Terms of Servicel Didn’t Read. Did you know that in Twitter’s TOS, you don’t have the right to leave the service?

It also could have changed since you started. They should send you a “Changes to our TOS” in at least email form. How many do, and more important, do you read it?

We need something visual. We need something simple. We need something that we can glance over and say yes. We don’t need a button that says we’ve read it.

And BTW – you should read your TOS for the sites you participate in. You might just have your eyes opened.

Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2012 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. Never take candy from strangers. If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!

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