New site ranks web services based on 'terms of service' agreements

By on August 14, 2012, 1:00 PM

A new ratings system hopes to help web users deal with what they describe as the biggest lie on the web – "I have read and agree to the terms." The service is already live although an official launch is scheduled for next week’s Telefonica Campus Party, a tech festival held in Berlin.

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read was started in June 2012 and aims to be a transparent and peer-reviewed process to rate and analyze terms of service and privacy policies. The initiative will create a rating from “Class A” to “Class E” for each web service based on how fair their terms of service are compared to other services.

A “Class A” is the best available and represents a company that treats you fairly, respects your rights and will not abuse your data. Standings get incrementally worse as the scale is traversed with a “Class E” rating described as raising very serious concerns.

The service is only two months old and as such, many of the web service rankings are listed as incomplete although some have already been awarded a ranking. For example, SeenThis and DuckDuckGo have earned a “Class A” score, GitHub has a “Class B” badge and Twitpic has been hit with the lowest “Class E” ranking.

The small staff is encouraging anyone and everyone to help out, whether it is by submitting a ToS review, offering legal expertise or knowledge about copyright, privacy and terms or if you’re a JavaScript developer that is willing to help with code.

Terms of service image from Shutterstock.

User Comments: 1

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TJGeezer said:

It seems to be headed in a good direction but I wonder if the ratings could be "bent" the way imdb ratings sometimes obviously have been on movies with few accumulated rating responses. (Indies and student films seem to salt their own ratings a lot. ) Also, there's a red "X" icon beside some factors, most commonly for "no right to leave the service," and I'm not clear what that even means. For example, it says I have no right to leave Skype, but I can simply uninstall the app and I'm never under obligation to actually use Skype. So yeah, they still need to iron out a few wrinkles. Good idea though.

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