Electronic Frontier Foundation Launches New Site to Track Modifications to Online Terms and Conditions

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") has just launched a new website to track companies' modifications to their terms and conditions: TOSback.org.

According to an explanation on the website, TOSbackup.org was launched with the intention of increasing public awareness about online terms of service, and to help the public monitor changes to the terms of service for the websites they are using. The launch follows the recent uproar on the blogosphere over changes to the Facebook terms and conditions, and the controversy over the terms and conditions for the Amazon Kindle's new beta product for blogs.

So far, the website is tracking twenty (20) companies' online terms, including but not limited to Google, Twitter, Apple, Ebay, Myspace, and YouTube. The website is equipped with RSS feeds, so users can easily track updates as they are posted to the Internet.

The launching of Tosbackup.org is an exciting development, which is likely to a huge impact over the Internet. While in the past companies could make daily revisions to their terms and conditions and those revisions could go almost unnoticed, Tosbackup.org is now going to make it possible for the blogosphere to have daily and direct oversight over corporate terms and condition changes. It is inevitable that this is going to change the dynamic between companies and website users and perhaps make them a little more reluctant to modify their terms and conditions--at least to the extent that the modifications are at all controversial. In my opinion, it levels the playing field significantly between companies, who typically establish that they have the right to amend their terms at any time without prior notice, and consumers, who generally seek predictable terms which are also fair and reasonable.

Related blogpostings:
Facebook Licensing Controversy Prompts Public to Take Closer Look at Social Networking Site Terms and Conditions
Facebook Reverses Decision and Announces Temporary Return to Prior Terms and Conditions
Facebook Adopts Townhall Format to Allow Users to Comment and Vote on New Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
Blogosphere Reacts to Licensing Terms for Amazon’s New Kindle Publishing for Blogs

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