July 15, 2016

This post is sponsored by Iris Plans.

If you wonder why it’s so easy for the government to trample our rights, it’s largely because we’ve gradually become accustomed to giving up our rights for a little convenience or safety without even thinking about it. To prove that, researchers tested nearly 600 university students by offering to sign them up for a new social network. But the real point was to illustrate “the biggest lie on the Internet,” the idea that people actually read and agree to “Privacy Policies” and “Terms of Service” agreements.

The fake social media site had a typical, 12,000-word PP and TOS based on Linked-In’s, but with a few little extras scattered in. For instance, anyone signing up agreed that all their private data would be handed over to the NSA and their employers. Also that they would give the site any first-born child that they had between now and 2050. 399 of the students simply checked “agree” without even reading it. Most of the rest spent just over a minute reading it before giving up. And this might be the scariest part of all: the tiny handful of students who actually read those clauses signed up anyway! I guess they figured they could always have a second child.

Liberals always try to justify rewriting the Constitution by arguing that the Founders couldn’t have possibly predicted life in the 21st century. But I’d say that when Ben Franklin warned that those who would give up their freedom for a little security will soon have neither, it was like he had a crystal ball.

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  • Craig Chilton

    10/27/2016 07:58 AM

    This is very simple! Just checking a box puts NO one under any contractual obligation whatsoever. There's no signature, and no witness. And ANY person getting on someone ELSE'S computer could do that without the owner's knowledge. Rendering the PP and TOS both worthless in terms of enforcable legality. The PP and TOS apparently must be provided by some websites, but that's as far as it goes. The ONLY risk to a person checking those boxes is for the site to block their access to the site or their services if the site regards the person to have been in non-compliance with the TOS. Bottom line: HARMLESS!