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If the “TLDR Law” Passes, a Website’s “Terms of Service” Page Could Actually Help

When was the last time you read a website’s terms of service, let alone understood?

If a new bill gains traction, if you end up there — intentionally or by wayward click of the mouse — you’ll at least have a chance to figure out what it all means.

Legislation proposed by Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) and the senses. Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would make legal agreements more accessible, in an effort to let users know what information websites and apps collect ― and how it is used .

The “TLDR Act” ― a nod to Internet shorthand for “too long; didn’t read” – would require online businesses to include “abbreviated terms of service” at the top of the page and standardize information in the agreement.

This would include a breakdown of what “sensitive information” the company collects, a flowchart outlining how that information is shared with affiliates and third parties, instructions on how users can request that their information be deleted (if the company offers this service), and a list of the company’s data breaches over the previous three years.

In practice, it might look like this:

“It would take *76* business days for the average American to read the terms of service contracts of the websites and apps they use,” Trahan noted in a press release announcing the bill. “Companies have designed them this way so that users ‘tune in’ without reading a word. I introduced the TLDR law with the senses. Bill Cassidy and Ben Ray Luján to change that.

The proposal is part of a broader push for regulation of Silicon Valley giants, including antitrust and data privacy laws.

Trahan told The Washington Post that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen should be credited for much of that momentum. The former Facebook employee provided damning testimony about the many evils of social media, backed by Facebook’s own internal research.

“This bill, of course, doesn’t address all the damage done by internet companies,” Trahan told the Post.

“But this legislation addresses an important issue that affects every American, which is that the terms of service are unreadable and that it tips the balance of power exclusively in favor of business.”

The Huffington Gt

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