According to a study by Deloitte, 97% of users between 18 and 34 years old accept terms and conditions of online services without reading them. Between the length of the contracts and the complexity of the contents, more and more people decide to go further, not reading what they are accepting. A bad habit, this, that could have repercussions over time, but that for now does not seem to pose a problem for the people of the web.

CONTENT LENGTH AND COMPLEXITY

Two hundred and fifty hours a year: this is on average the time it takes an American user to read all the terms and conditions he adheres to. For this reason, according to the study by Deloitte, the percentage of those who do not, accepting without informing themselves any conditions present in the contracts, is always higher.

While the length of the content and its complexity does not help users to read, it is also true that there is no alternative to acceptance. Very often, in fact, if you do not subscribe to the terms and conditions, you can not use the services requested. For this reason, therefore, being unable to do otherwise, many accept regardless.

Often, however, T&C hides invasive privacy clauses that require access to the user’s history and tracking of movements. In fact, through cookies or simple web search many services acquire crucial and secret personal information.

For this reason, it is important to act accordingly and defend oneself in advance, implementing specific practices. Some examples? Install an antivirus, which prevents and eliminates malware, a VPN, which reduces tracking, and use secure passwords. But even browsing by setting up incognito browsing, as explained in the HTML magazine, can help protect yourself, as well as disable cookies and use privacy-conscious search engines.

NAMEDROP, THE FAKE SOCIAL NETWORK EXPERIMENT

The habit of users not to read the terms and conditions of online services is also confirmed by the study of Jonathan A. Obar and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, two American scholars who in 2018 published a research entitled “The Biggest Lie on the Internet: Ignoring the Privacy Policies and Terms of Service Policies of Social Networking Services”.

After convincing 543 university students to participate in the testing of a fake social network called NameDrop, the two researchers had them sign a service card, making sure that most of them (399 out of 543) had completely ignored the T&C reading, while the others had paused no more than a minute. Terms and conditions in which, moreover, there were paradoxical clauses, such as the obligation to give up your first child immediately or at the time of his birth, or the transfer of personal data to the National Security Agency and his employer.

This experiment confirms once again the need to pay attention to the contracts that are signed, to avoid giving away sensitive data for privacy and at the same time to fall into some unpleasant trap.

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