Two Terms of Service ToS summary and rating sites

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 14, 2012
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

I have to admit that I'm often only looking loosely over Terms of Services and Privacy Policies when I install software or visit websites for the first time. The main reason for that is time, as it would take me most of the day to do so so that my productivity would crawl to a halt in the process.

The problem with most TOS is that you get pages of legalese to read through, and that you not only have to spend time doing so, but also understand some of the terms used in the document which may lead to additional research and sometimes maybe even a wrong interpretation of what is being said.

Two services aim to change that. The first and newer service, ToS;DR, has been making the rounds in the past couple of days.  Terms of Service; Didn't Read rates website terms and privacy policies, providing you with an overall rating and a summary of the most important terms found in the policies.

Services are rated from A, the highest possible rating, to E, the lowest rating. At the time of writing, the popular Twitpic service is the only one that is rated with an E, while services like DuckDuckGo and SeenThis have received the highest rating. There is not a lot to see on the page yet, as many services seem to have only been partially analyzed yet. While you see summaries for Google, Facebook, Steam or Twitter  on the front page, no class has been associated with those services yet.

terms of service summary

Thankfully though it is the summary that is more important than the overall rating of a service. Each item in the summary is rated individually from bad (red) over medium (orange) and good (green) to neutral (gray).

Some summary items are not clear immediately. Steam's "no right to leave the service" for instance does not mean that you can't leave Steam as a service, or ask Valve to remove all your account related information after you quit using the service, but that you can't take games with you when you leave the service.

Terms of Services & Privacy Policies is the second service. It provides you with a highlights summary as well as on-page copies of a service's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. What's interesting in this regard is that it includes both in the summary, and that you can compare services with each other on the site.

facebook tos

You can for instance compare Facebook and Google, or Dropbox with Amazon or Apple. You are however limited to a handful of services that have already been analyzed


Eula Analyzer is a free software for Windows that you can use to analyze license agreements. You basically copy and paste agreements, terms of services or privacy policies into the software and wait until it displays a summary of the agreement in its interface. The software has been designed for software agreements primarily though.

Common Terms is currently in alpha stage. It aims to provide you with a summary as well on the page where you have to accept the Terms of service and Privacy policy. It is not usable yet by the public but one to keep an eye on.


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  1. ComicHippo said on August 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Use Ghostery or NoScript .

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