“I read and agree”: everything you’ve already accepted without knowing

How many times have you said that you agree with the ‘Terms of Use’ of a website or application, even without having read that huge contract ? After all, without accepting, it would be useless to download the service, as it would not be possible to use it without accepting all the terms. Well know that this can be extremely dangerous, especially for your privacy.

Recently, the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, testified to US senators about the leak of information from users registered on the platform. In more than five hours of testimony, he had to explain how the social network reacted to the data leak of 87 million users by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The scandal caused changes in the social network, which promised to maintain a more direct relationship with the user in terms of advertising. They declared that they will change their policy on access to user information and will start asking for explicit consent from Internet users. This includes targeted advertisements that may be posted on your profiles, storing information deemed sensitive in the network’s database, and using facial recognition technology.

“Anything in the Terms of Use can happen, whether in accordance with what the user believes or not, and this can be harmful in several ways. They can, for example, monitor you, use your data and even track your location”, explains Marcelo Montone, CEO of the digital agency Nommad.ID.

For your safety, always read the Terms of Use

We already know that reading the Terms of Use is critical as this affects users’ legal rights. But, beyond that, it is important to pay attention to the security of your information and how your privacy is at risk with the contractual clauses. This scandal on Facebook, a social network that brings together more than two billion people in the world, was yet another fact that reaffirms the need for users to know the risks and possibilities of sharing information in their navigation.

“The user can only make the decision to click responsibly if he reads the Terms of Use. Who buys a house without reading, analyzing and agreeing to their contract? The speed and agility of today’s world cannot be an excuse for clicking on the terms. It is a matter of legal responsibility and not a technological bureaucracy”, warns Vinícius Tex, network and technology analyst and founder of the Brazilian Institute of Blockchain and Virtual Currencies.

To give you an idea, some companies have already made pranks related to contractual clauses. In 2005, a software user from the PC Pitstop company decided to read the Terms of Use and discovered, hidden among the countless paragraphs, a prize of a thousand dollars. He only needed to contact the company to receive the money. But it took five months and three thousand registrations for someone to find the joke.

In 2010, the GameStation game store hid a clause where the user ‘sold’ their soul to the company. For every 7,000 people registered, only 1,000 identified the prank. Back in 2012, in California, Apple was sued by the parents of dozens of children who were making unauthorized purchases in addictive games like ‘Angry Birds’ and ‘Smurf’s Village’. The company defended itself against the prosecution by saying that the parents accepted the Terms of Use when installing the app.

The ‘Terms of Use’ are nothing more than contracts

Legally, the Terms of Use are considered contracts and their content rules the relationship between the user and the website or application. Most of the time, it is this document that regulates consumer relations, which, as a rule, guarantees the consumer greater judicial protection.

Thus, there is the possibility of discussing its clauses in any legal action. Because of this, it is extremely important to read the Terms of Use and the ntity Policies. By declaring awareness of its contents, the user accepts the entire set of rules of the website or application.

“The service is responsible for providing the user with all the clarifications and rules necessary for the full use of its platform, preventing or minimizing the risks of lawsuits, in addition to avoiding attrition between the parties”, comments Edgard Dolata, a lawyer specializing in business law.


Marco Civil da Internet: a measure to protect the user?

Not long ago, the Marco Civil da Internet (Law 12.965/14) was widely discussed by the Executive and Legislative of the country, as a way to regulate the laws of the virtual world. Marco clarifies the user’s rights and guarantees, such as access to clear and complete information about the use of personal data, which can only be disclosed with the express authorization of the customer.

When talking about a website or a social network, for example, it is necessary to consider the capacity of millions of people using the service at the same time. “Therefore, it is necessary to have this regulation. When the user reads the contract, he becomes aware of what is allowed and what is not. Because of this, it becomes able to decide if it wants to accept what the site proposes and has the freedom not to be surprised by the possible consequences of an attitude that could violate the terms”, points out Maira Hess, specialist in digital marketing and Marco Civil Internet and founding partner of Marketing Buzz Station.

The big inconvenience is that the most popular applications in Brazil were formulated with the legislation of foreign countries. “Which implies in Terms of Use that do not comply with the Brazilian Constitution or are unconstitutional. Therefore, it is important to read the terms, be attentive and, in case of need, doubts and possible conflicts, seek help from a specialist and even a lawyer”, adds Maira.

‘But I swear I didn’t know!’

Have you ever heard that it’s possible to get rid of a problem by claiming that you didn’t know the rules before? Well know that, legally, this is not possible. Art. 3 of the Law of Introduction to the Rules of Brazilian Law brings the prohibition of non-compliance with the law based on their lack of knowledge.

“Comparatively, it can be said that on the Internet, when the user accepts the Terms of Use without reading, he is at risk of infringing something he does not know, providing unwanted information and, as a consequence, suffering damage that can directly affect his personal and professional life”, emphasizes Maira.

“Accepting the terms without having read it is ‘you sell your soul.’ Aside from the joke, the truth is that you are signing a blank check, which allows them to use your data in ways you have no idea. It is important to know what the Terms of Use of the technology you have chosen says and whether your information will be protected”, concludes Cristina Sleiman, a lawyer specializing in digital law.

Photos: Fotolia


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