June 5, 2009

Site Monitors Terms Of Use Revisions For Popular Web Sites

The Electronic Frontier Foundation launched a new Web site on Thursday that is aimed at monitoring key policy changes of some of the Web's most popular sites.

TOSBack.org keeps status updates of 44 Web site policies. If any revisions are made to a site's terms of service, TOSBack reports the changes in a side-by-side comparison.

The watchdog Web site tracks popular sites including Facebook, YouTube, Google, GoDaddy and eBay.

"Terms of service form the foundation of your relationship with social networking sites, online businesses, and other Internet communities, but most people become aware of these terms only when there's a problem," said EFF Activism and Technology Manager Tim Jones.

"We created TOSBack to help consumers monitor terms of service for the websites they use everyday, and show how the terms change over time."

According to the Associated Press, TOSBack is also hoping to add an even larger variety of companies, including credit card, bank, cable TV and other companies.

TOSBack cited the public uproar caused by Facebook's modified terms of use as a key example of the need for revision monitoring.

"Some changes to terms of service are good for consumers, and some are bad," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "But Internet users are increasingly trusting websites with everything from their photos to their 'friends lists' to their calendar -- and sometimes even their medical information. TOSBack will help consumers flag changes in the websites they use every day and trust with their personal information."


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