[Bad] App.net may change it's Terms of Service at any time

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Tobi Lehman

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Aug 24, 2012, 12:58:26 AM8/24/12
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http://app.net/terms/ 

App.net reserves the right to change or modify any of the terms and conditions contained in the Site Terms or any policy or guideline of the Sites, at any time and in its sole discretion. Any changes or modification will be effective immediately upon posting of the revisions on the Sites, and you waive any right you may have to receive specific notice of such changes or modifications. Your continued use of the Sites following the posting of changes or modifications will confirm your acceptance of such changes or modifications.  

I am not that familiar with the terms and conditions of many different services. I would like to know if this kind of thing is common. It sounds to me like a dangerous loophole, am I justified in thinking this? 

Aaron Kelly

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Aug 24, 2012, 1:01:12 AM8/24/12
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it can be dangerous yes.  while most of the terms that I draft say that very thing, its something most clients want.  In a perfect world, we'd give the party a certain amount of time to accept the changes…..but then the issue is whats the alternative?

  Other options would be to give the person a certain amount of time in which to reject certain changes (if they are material).  I know that if you're dropping in an arbitration clause, you need to get acceptance or give them a certain amount of time to reject the arbitration/class action waiver.   

But if its something that is immaterial, I like being able to make the changes and post the changes to the site.  


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Hugo Roy

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Aug 28, 2012, 6:43:26 AM8/28/12
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Le jeudi 23 août 2012 à 21:58 -0700, Tobi Lehman a écrit :
> http://app.net/terms/
>
> App.net reserves the right to change or modify any of the terms and
> conditions contained in the Site Terms or any policy or guideline of the
> Sites, at any time and in its sole discretion. Any changes or modification
> will be effective immediately upon posting of the revisions on the Sites,
> and you waive any right you may have to receive specific notice of such
> changes or modifications. Your continued use of the Sites following the
> posting of changes or modifications will confirm your acceptance of such
> changes or modifications.


This is unfortunately quite common to find poor ways of handling changes
on ToS. But this one really seems awful: no notification at all?

I'll add that point as this is quite straightforward.

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Hugo Roy
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Hugo Roy

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Aug 28, 2012, 8:34:30 AM8/28/12
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The data is online and available here:
https://github.com/unhosted/ToS-DR/blob/gh-pages/points/MCGx3DtQHM8.json

You can see how it compares to other services here:
http://unhosted.github.com/ToS-DR/topics.html#changes-MCGx3DtQHM8

Tobi Lehman

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Aug 28, 2012, 1:08:50 PM8/28/12
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Thank you Hugo, when does this data become available to the front-facing site? (tos-dr.info)

Michiel de Jong

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Sep 28, 2012, 1:39:08 PM9/28/12
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this was since updated, see https://groups.google.com/d/topic/tosdr/I7i-2EM0GVY/discussion and https://alpha.app.net/legal/terms/

they will publish changes 5 days before they become effective, although they will not necessarily notify you.

For now i'll change this from 'bad' to 'info'; once we have more data for comparison we can define a better scale of how we rate ToS changes according to both the lead time and the method of notification. 

Tobi Lehman

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Sep 28, 2012, 1:40:57 PM9/28/12
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That is fair.

Michiel de Jong

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Sep 30, 2012, 6:33:15 AM9/30/12
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this point is also reviewed in Andrew Clout's blogpost about App.Net by the way. The blogpost states 'if you use the service, you agree to the terms [...] To be a safe, vigilant user, you need to pay attention to changes to the terms of service — because if you keep using the service after they change, then you have agreed to the new terms by default.' and seems to conclude that this is acceptable. i think it would be nice if a service  commits to pro-actively notifying their users. If it's impossible for a user to read all the terms of services they sign up for, then it's definitely impossible to re-read them every 5 days. EFF's tosback2, of which we now also run an instance, partially fixes that, but 5 days is very little time for us to detect the changes, get someone on the case, review the changes, post them discuss them, and rate them.

So i would still say that to get full points, a service (any service, in general) should pro-actively inform users of a change, and give them, say, two weeks to review the changes at leisure and to make an informed decision about whether to accept the changes or leave the service (which in itself will presumably take some time to do) before being held to the changed terms.

Tobi Lehman

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Sep 30, 2012, 1:16:16 PM9/30/12
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That is true, without the notification and grace period, it's a bit like a bait and switch.

Hugo Roy

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Oct 10, 2012, 11:43:59 AM10/10/12
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Le vendredi 28 septembre 2012 à 10:39 -0700, Michiel de Jong a écrit :
> this was since updated,
> see https://groups.google.com/d/topic/tosdr/I7i-2EM0GVY/discussion
> and https://alpha.app.net/legal/terms/
>
> they will publish changes 5 days before they become effective, although
> they will not necessarily notify you.
>
> For now i'll change this from 'bad' to 'info'; once we have more data for
> comparison we can define a better scale of how we rate ToS changes
> according to both the lead time and the method of notification.

Hi,

It's important to see that app.net's terms are changing all the time. We
should be careful with them.

The current point is not valid any more, as there's clearly some kind of
notification. So please, if you update the point, provide again the url
and the exact quote, otherwise it's a mess to follow.

I'm opening a new thread since the title of the summary doesn't reflect
the content of the terms any more. (and I'm closing the point to
deprecated).

Best,

Hugo Roy

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Oct 10, 2012, 11:56:13 AM10/10/12
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