When you want to use something on the web, most of the time, you need to Agree about the service's Terms of Service. Sadly, most people just don't care.
Terms of service on the web, acts like a contract that governs what you and what the service can do. In the age where privacy is a commodity and commonly exploited, you need to carefully read the terms of service to know your rights, before signing up or using a service.
So it's becoming more of a concern that people don't just click on the "I agree to the terms of service" that easily.
That is at least the goal of Tosdr.
Short for "Terms of Service; Didn’t Read," the website turns lengthy and annoyingly difficult to read terms of services into bulleted summaries. It then rates the terms into classes (Class A for very good, to Class F for very bad).
"If nobody can individually read these terms, then we have to figure out a collective solution." said Hugo Roy, co-creator of ToSDR.
ToSDR was first launched in 2012. The idea came when Roy met Michiel de Jong, a programmer, and Jan-Christoph Borchardt, a designer. The three shared an interest in digital rights activism and hoped that one day there can be an easy way for websites to change their terms of service, without having to notify their users.
They have hopes that websites can make their terms of service clear and concise, because it was nearly impossible to make a dense terms of service make sense considering the very much rights both parties need.
"You don’t have to know about how electricity works or how a washing machine works. You just have a rating which will tell you this is good, this is bad," said Roy.
To make things easy, ToSDR comes with browser extensions where users can install to easily get instant information about the terms and privacy policies of websites they browse
ToSDR took inspirations from the European Union's energy label, and created color-coded scales to show which services had the most and the least user-friendly terms of service. But unlike the EU's, ToSDR doesn't have a dedicated agency to grade the issues. Instead, it allows others in the group to decide. So the more people ToSDR has and the more terms are diiscussed, the better the resources should be.
The site's discussion pages direct to Google Groups. There users can contribute with their own opinion.
ToSDR is plain simple with one goal in mind. It doesn't use sophisticated algorithms or AI, and it's not designed to be a legal resource. All the contents there are user-generated, and they are as good as the humans who submitted them.