ToS;DR stands for Terms Of Service; Didn’t Read.

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Several times a week even. Checked that little box without actually reading what it is that we’re signing up for. Presuming that it’s just the standard stuff about reasonable use and copyright and stuff; the stuff that doesn’t really concern us, right?

But then why would we read all that stuff? Signing up for iTunes means agreeing to over 15,000 words of terms and conditions. And then there’s Dropbox, Play Store, Evernote, Flickr, YouTube, WordPress, 500px and so on and so on.
Add to that the fact that you probably won’t understand all the legal mumbo-jumbo anyway. And then remember that if you choose not to agree, you don’t get to use the service anyway. Want to play? Then there actually is no alternative but to check the box saying that you you read and understood, whether you actually read and understood or not.

It is “the biggest lie on the web”.

Thankfully ToS;DR is here to help with that:

ToS;DR aims at creating a transparent and peer-reviewed process to rate and analyse Terms of Service and Privacy Policies in order to create a rating from Class A to Class E.

Basically, key policies and conditions for each service are rated as “Good”, “Mediocre” or “Alert”. Based on those ratings, the ToS for each service are then rated from A (best) to E (worst).

It is a new system and they’re still very much setting things up. However, they’ve already rated a few services, including Twitpic (E) [not really surprising], Delicious (D), 500px (D) and Soundcloud (B). Click on the links in the Classification section and you can see the details on each of the points, explaining why they scored what they scored. It’s enlightening stuff.

They’re still collating information and scoring some big services like Skype, Twitter and Facebook. I’m intrigued to see what they come up with. Tos;DR is a useful service and a good first step at simplifying what is a ubiquitous, irritating and pretty much useless step on the internet.

Leave a Reply