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Report finds only 1 percent reads ‘Terms & Conditions’

To prove just how few people bother to read the small print when they purchase an item or engage a service, website ProPrivacy.com succeeded in persuading 99 percent of survey respondents to surrender ridiculous things like the naming rights of their first-born child and browsing history access to their mothers.

The conditions respondents agreed to included:

The naming rights to their firstborn child.
Access to the airspace above their property for purposes of drone traffic.
Permission to give their mom full access to their browsing history. The ability to “invite” a personal FBI agent to Christmas dinner for the next 10 years.
The opportunity to use their streaming platforms and litter the suggestions with terrible stand-up specials.

This was through a fun social experiment, albeit with a serious intent, designed to show companies can include just about anything and the typical consumer is very likely to accept them, simply because they do not bother to read, or skim read, or perhaps fail to understand just what is contained within the small print.

ProPrivacy.com found that getting away with popping ridiculous things into terms and conditions was very easy. The group found that only 1 percent of technology users in a social experiment actually read the terms and conditions.

However, not many admitted this. The survey showed that 70 percent of those surveyed lied, claiming they “read the agreement” with 33 percent claiming to have “read it thoroughly.”

This type of news is in keeping with January’s global Data Privacy Day (which is held on January 28th each year). The associated report from ProPrivacy (“The Hidden Dangers Lurking Beneath Today’s Surface-Level Data Protection”) explores the data security implications as well, shedding light on the dangers of consumers doing the bare minimum to protect their data.

Other interesting statistics from the survey were that 68 percent of respondents have admitted to deleting an app to protect their data privacy; and the same time such people declared they are unaware that many apps use “uninstall trackers” to target users with ads even after deletion

Also of interest was the fact that over 70 percent of smart speaker owners would not allow it to listen in to private conversations, even though it already listens in daily. With ‘allowing access to their contacts’ ranking low on the list of users’ concern, users are only as secure as their least secure friend.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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