TLDR – reading a website’s terms and conditions could soon get a lot easier

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Congress is tired of tech firms harassing consumers with lengthy and confusing Terms of Service (TOS) and has a three-member plan: the Terms of Service Labeling, Design and Readability (TLDR) Act, which has bipartisan support. and may force tech companies to simplify the ToS.

The bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), giving it a strong chance of success in the gridlock system that plagues Americans. Legislature is. ,

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“For too long, Blanket [ToS] The agreements force consumers to either ‘agree’ to all of the Company’s terms or lose access to a website or app altogether. No negotiation, no alternative, and no real alternative,” said Congresswoman Trahan, a member of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

too long, never read

“To tilt the decision further in their favor, many companies design unnecessarily long and complicated contracts, knowing that users don’t have the bandwidth to read lengthy legal documents when they want to send a message to a loved one or make a quick call. Trying to shop,” Trahan says. “The potential for abuse is clear, and some bad actors have chosen to exploit these agreements to expand their control over users’ personal data and protect themselves from liability.”

Almost no one reads the TOS and companies know this; This is one reason why words are presented in dense text with complex language. Access to the Services always depends on agreeing to the Terms, which can often mean signing off without realizing your data rights in return.

The TLDR Act is part of a broader shift towards governance in tech companies, which has gained widespread traction over the past decade, and especially during the pandemic. Congress has held a variety of hearings – some productive, others apparently not – and recent revelations by whistleblower Frances Haugen have added fuel to the fire.

Of course, the TLDR Act still has some way to go and bipartisan support is all that matters. Congress is at a standstill over everything big and small (except military funding), and the changes to the Act being passed are difficult to assess.

Still, Congress is encouraging a bipartisan group of people to tackle a problem that, knowingly or unknowingly, affects everyone who uses the Internet.

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