Finally, Someone Read the Terms of Service So You Don't Have To

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I've yet to find anyone who reads the terms-of-service contracts that we "agree" to on the various websites of the world. But now, a group of technologists, lawyers, and interested parties have created TOS;DR, a project to create peer-reviewed summaries of all those documents you will never actually read. 


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Launched in June, it's a kind of brilliant and already-useful tool for some of the more heavily trafficked sites on the web. For example, if you're uploading photos to TwitPic, you might want to reconsider. They give the site their worst grade, a "Class E." Why? Well, they have an easy-to-understand summary right here. If you click on "Read the Details," you get an extended explanation of these warnings and can also link back (almost like a Wikipedia page) to the TOS;DR discussion that led to the thumbs-down. 

All this to say: thanks, guys, and keep up the good work, so we don't have to do it ourselves.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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