It’s a universally known truth that almost no one reads the lengthy and often boring terms of service agreement while signing up for a new service. This is exactly why most tech companies get away with predatory fine prints that often compromise the user’s privacy and personal data. In an attempt to simplify the complex terms agreement for the average user, Democrats and Republicans have introduced a “TLDR” bill that aims to make it mandatory for companies to offer a summary of their terms.
TLDR Bill Introduced to Simplify Terms of Service
Aptly named TLDR, the term stands for “Terms-of-service Labeling, Design, and Readability Act” and is possibly a clever wordplay on the internet slang “Too Long’ Didn’t Read”. The bipartisan bill wants companies to include a nutrition label-style summary table at the top of their terms of service. Furthermore, companies should use XML tags to tag the full terms-of-service contracts. This makes it easier for users to access them faster and analyze differences.
The summary statement should include the following details:
- Categories of sensitive consumer information collected and if data is necessary for accessing the service
- If a consumer can delete their data, along with instructions to do so
- Legal liabilities of using the service and right to content, mandatory arbitration and class action waivers
- Change log
- List of data breaches from the past three years
“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,” said Senator Bill Cassidy. “Requiring companies to provide an easy-to-understand summary of their terms should be mandatory and is long overdue,” he added.
The TLDR Act summary also notes that small businesses are exempt from these requirements. If the bill passes, the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys Generals will be responsible for enforcing it for commercial websites and mobile apps.