EFF launches new service to inform on T&C changes

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EFF launches new service to inform on T&C changes

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has begun a new service that tracks changes in the terms and conditions users have to sign to access online services.

Dubbed TOSBack, the service will cover Google, eBay, Facebook and other major websites and alert companies and individual users to changes in the terms of the sites that may cause information security problems.

"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."

Visitors to the site will be able to see before and after screen grabs of the terms and conditions so that they can compare and see highlighted changes.

One of the stimuli for the idea was the changes Facebook made in its terms and conditions in February, which caused a among users and an eventual climbdown by the company.

"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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