US lawmakers want the terms of service to be summarized in plain language

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 14, 2022
Updated 2022/01/14 at 2:09 AM

Unless you’re a lawyer, there’s a good chance you’ve never read a website’s full terms of service. There is a simple reason for this. They are often very long and difficult to parse. Some services offer summary statements, but they are the exception, not the norm.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers made up of Representative Lori Trahan and Senators Bill Cassidy and Ben Ray Luján of Louisana and New Mexico wants to change that. They introduced the – this is TLDR for short. , the proposed legislation would require online companies to include a “nutrition label style” summary at the top of their terms of service agreements and would make it easier for researchers to review contracts through the use of XML tags. It would also require them to disclose any recent data breaches, as well as provide information on whether a user can delete their data and how they would do so.

“For too long, general terms of service agreements forced consumers to ‘agree’ to all of a company’s conditions or lose access to a website or app altogether. No negotiation, no alternative and no real choice,” said Representative Trahan. The group cites a who found that it would take the average American 76 business days to read all the terms of service contracts that they agreed to use their favorite online services as a basis for the need for the TLDR Act. If the legislation is passed, it will empower the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to enforce it.

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