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Privacy

An easy way to spot fine-print ‘gotchas’ before you agree to online terms of service

Quick show of hands: Who here actually reads all the way through the terms of service when signing up for a website or app? Aside from the lawyers among us, we’ll hazard a guess that the number is low. Terms of service tend to be dense and boring, but they contain critical information that has huge implications.

By agreeing to the terms of service, you might be giving a company permission to use your personal data as they see fit. This is how Facebook managed to harness and sell its users’ data for profit. Click or tap here to learn how Facebook continues to sell your information.

But now, you no longer need to worry about missing any of the fine print. This handy browser extension offers more than just simple highlights; you won’t want to miss it.

The extension that translates ‘legalese’ into English

Terms of Service;Didn’t Read (ToS;DR)is a browser extension for for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera that scans user agreements and privacy policies. What it looks for is relevant information that can help you make better privacy decisions.

Every website has its own unique agreement, and as a result, they all have very different privacy policies. This is made even trickier due to the dense language they use, but ToS;DR helps break down the important bits and highlights how they affect your privacy and data.

When installed in your browser, the app scans the terms of service for your platform of choice and provides a readout of highlights. These are the most important sections you should read before clicking that “accept” button.

The extension also reveals how the site’s privacy policy ranks compared to other platform, as seen in the screenshot above.

Here’s an example of how ToS;DR helps you protect your privacy:

If you read Twitter’s terms of service, you’ll see there’s a very broad copyright license on the content you post. This means it can be dangerous to host original art or written content to Twitter, because your works won’t enjoy the same intellectual protections it would receive on other platforms.

If you’re tired of being in the dark about what websites are doing with your data, this extension is a perfect fit for your browser. Visit ToS;DR’s download page and make sure to select the correct extension for your browser before downloading.

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