Accepting the Terms
Before you can install or open an account or whatever, you almost always need to tick the box saying that you accept. You didn’t read the terms though, who would? They’re written such that you’d need to be a lawyer to understand them fully, and even as a lawyer you’d probably need an hour just to read through all of it to make sure they didn’t slip anything in to screw you over.
Yes, I know why it’s done this way. Capitalism. Companies can’t be sued or brought to court because technically they told you what they were going to do and you said yes. They use a team of lawyers to construct a behemoth of a text that fully frees them of all guilt, and you have….well, you probably don’t have your own lawyer on retainer and you wouldn’t bother hiring one just to read the terms every time you download a new app, so you just have yourself, who isn’t going to spend hours reading through all that trying to understand it, so you just click what you need to in order to use the app.
What’s infuriating is that this shouldn’t be an issue at all, no ordinary citizen should have to worry about this. If the government was doing its job to protect us instead of the companies, it would use its lawyers to scrutinize these products for us and fix anything that would be against our interests. We should never even see these terms and licenses, we shouldn’t have to agree to anything. If the companies are stealing our data and selling it, it shouldn’t be our responsibility to find out ourselves and boycott it ourselves, our government should be actively searching for and destroying such criminals.
The reality is that ‘our’ government does not protect us. It allows corporations to turn criminal actions into legal behavior with a mere checkbox. It shrugs off having to protect our interests from disguised, highly sophisticated threats by telling us that we as individuals should protect ourselves, that if they used their powerful public funding to keep powerful private interests in check, it would be overstepping a boundary. A boundary created by disguised, highly sophisticated rhetoric about protecting ‘everyone’ that ultimately only protects the wealthy and leaves ordinary citizens vulnerable. At some point, we the people technically agreed, whether by direct referendum or indirect government representation, so all of it is legal.