The fine print

Put up your hand if you read the fine print and understand the implications for every application or piece of software that you install and use.

Photo credit: mercucio2 from

I didn’t think so.

Me neither.

I wonder if lawyers do.  It seems to me that they’d be the only people that could fully understand the “party of the first part” stuff and all of the truly important implications.  After all, it would have been a team of their colleagues that wrote the original.

It’s a good discussion for the classroom. 

Have you ever taken an application’s terms of use and gone through it point by point?  It would make for a great conference presentation.

“Now many of you people use Snapchat?”  How many use the product world-wide?  Snapchat provides a picture of its popularity as a social network here.  So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many students use it.

Have they read the legal terms and conditions?

Do they know that the terms have been recently changed?  This article is worth discussing in class.  “Snapchat now owns some of your selfies forever“.

It will add credibility when you talk about social media with the traditional words of wisdom.  “What gets posted online stays online forever”.  “Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see”.  It would be a good time to revisit the stats.  “Snapchat is the best way to reach 13 to 34 year-olds”.

Would something like this encourage students to read the fine print and understand just how they’re using software?  Would it help them to understand the implications and just raise their awareness?

I think we can all agree that it’s a situation that’s not going to go away.  In the time that it took me to put my thoughts together for this post, I downloaded an application in another window.  Time to install and start using.

Oh yeah, after reading and understanding the legalize and agreeing that I’ve read and understood everything of course.


5 thoughts on “The fine print

  1. On a similar note, today my ICS3x class is going to look at acceptable use policies/guidelines for their school boards. It’s always fascinating. 🙂


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