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New TLDR bill could make those boring terms-of-service agreements readable

Of course its called the TLDR Act.

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Lawmakers in the United States have seemingly had enough of those incredibly long terms of service that people generally agree to without reading. Congress and the Senate have issued new legislation that would require tech companies, like Apple and Google, to give an easy-to-read synopsis of their terms of service.

Funnily enough, the new proposed legislation is actually called the TLDR Act, although it doesn’t stand for too long; didn’t read in this instance. Instead, it’s known as the “Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability,” and it’s expected to have bipartisan support as something that will be hugely beneficial to consumers.

We learned about the new legislation thanks to a report from The Hill. The House version of the bill was sponsored by Rep. Lori Trahan of Massachusetts, and she shared an interesting statistic in a press release earlier this week.

From the press release:

A 2012 study found that it would take 76 work days for the average American to read the agreements for technology companies they use. Yet, because of the complicated language and length of many terms of service documents, an overwhelming majority of users “Agree” without reading any portion of the contract.

The study from 2012 found that Americans would have to spend an average of 76 workdays reading if they wanted to get through all of the terms of service they agreed to. And that was nearly 10 years ago.

Think of how many more websites, apps, and other programs that we use that have terms that we agree to now. I imagine it would take much longer to get through them all today.

This legislation has the potential to make these tech companies’ intentions much more clear. In addition to adding a tl;dr version of terms of service, the bill would require explicit disclosure of any personal data that a company collects.

This sounds like a great way to keep companies’ intentions clear and I, personally, can’t wait to know more about what I agree to every time I try a new app or service.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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