Terms of Service; Didn't Read: TOS Summaries

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 20, 2017

Terms of Service; Didn't Read is a free online service and browser extension that provides you with terms of service summaries.

Whenever you sign up for an online service, or install most software programs or applications on your devices, you agree to the terms of service of the developer, company or manufacturer.

The vast majority of users does not read terms of service but agrees to them without reading them. Reasons for that are manifold: from difficult to understand legal terminology and the sheer size of the documents to not caring about what a company may or may not do with your data.

Researchers calculated how much time the average person would spent reading terms of service, and they came up with 76 work days.

It is clear that the system is broken, in favor of companies that provide these services.

Terms of Service; Didn't Read

terms of service didnt read

Terms of Service; Didn't Read is a user rights initiative designed to "rate and label website terms & privacy policies".

Basically, what you get is a rated summary of a service's terms of service or privacy policy. YouTube gets a D for instance, Google a C, GitHub a B, and DuckDuckGo an A. The best rating is an A, the worst an E.

The service lists positive, negative and neutral points in a bullet list so that you may go through it in a matter of seconds instead of hours.

You may click on the "more details" link however for additional details on each item of the summary.

Terms of Service; Didn't Read lists popular services on its startpage. A search is provided to find services and websites of interest. While you find plenty of sites in the database, some of the world's most visited sites are not included. This is the case for eBay, Startpage, Archive.org, or Outlook for instance.

While you can use the service exclusively on the project's website, you may also download and install browser extensions instead. Extensions are provided for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari at this point in time.

All are open source, and display a hint in the browser UI if a supported site is visited. A click on the icon displays the summary for that site. The Chrome extension displays a desktop notification on top of that if sites are visited that have received a bad rating.

Closing Words

Terms of Service; Didn't Read is not the first "summary" service but it has been available for years and is still actively maintained. Since it is a community project, anyone may submit new entries or modifications to the database.

Now You: How do you handle terms of service?

Terms of Service; Didn't Read: TOS Summaries
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Terms of Service; Didn't Read: TOS Summaries
Terms of Service; Didn't Read is a free online service and browser extension that provides you with terms of service summaries.
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  1. Rick A. said on August 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    This is pretty much an abandoned project. But it would be nice if it wasn’t or a better one came along.

  2. Bill Blaher said on August 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Website https://tosdr.org/ looks almost abandoned, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia, MS, Apple, Twitter, Amazon (etc) all “No Class Yet”.

  3. TelV said on August 20, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Useful site with a lot of information. Thanks for the tip Martin.

  4. Jojo said on August 20, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I see no value in an extension like this and I also see no point in wasting time reading the TOS for any site/service/app because there is nothing you can do about any terms you do not agree with.

    At least in the USA, you cannot cross off terms you don’t like. It’s an all or nothing choice. Accept the TOS as written or move on.

    If I violate your TOS, you can come find me and sue me. Good luck.

    1. jason said on August 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      They can’t sue you or do anything to you for violating them anyway because it isn’t a contract, and you didn’t sign your name – clicking i agree means nothing (eg, my cat jumped on my keyboard while i was having some cake in the other room).

      The entire thing is a sham and in the eyes of the law is completely and utterly absurd.

  5. Tancred said on August 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I had the extension for a while, but noticed that I didn’t use it much.
    It feels pointless for the big sites that you can’t get rid of because they already have a de facto monopoly.

    1. George said on August 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Information is never pointless, even if you end up using the websites in question for now.

  6. T J said on August 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I’m using FF 52.2 ESR and Cyberfox 52.2.ESR. I accessed the Mozilla Add-ons for TOSDR.

    When I tried to install ANY listed version of the Extension, the following message is displayed:
    “This add-on is not compatible with your version of Firefox.”

    Any ideas as to why this is happening ??

    1. TelV said on August 21, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Last Updated: December 5, 2014 according to the extension’s page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/terms-of-service-didnt-read/?src=ss

      Many changes have taken place in Firefox since version 34 which was released on December 1, 2014 which means it probably won’t work with subsequent versions released during the course of 2015/2016 either.

    2. George said on August 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

      They’ve probably switched to only supporting the latest Firefox – it doesn’t work in Pale Moon either.

  7. Mark Hazard said on August 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    The Firefox add-on is not compatible with my version of Firefox (55.0.2) (Ubuntu) I mistakenly updated to this version since it was mostly automatic on Ubuntu. I don’t think that I can go back now.

    But thanks for the article, Martin.

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