Here’s A Chance To See How Your Privacy is Routinely Invaded

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Have you heard about the outstanding documentary film Terms and Conditions May Apply?  Directed by Cullen Hoback, it exposes what corporations and governments can learn about you based on how you use the Internet and your cell phone.

There will be an online screening of the film, free to the first 3,000 viewers, this Sunday at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT).

The movie focuses on what you agree to share when you go to Internet giants like Google and Facebook.  These are the practices outlined in so-called privacy policies and terms of service, hence the film's title Terms and Conditions May Apply.

Most folks don't read those "privacy policies,"  which I prefer to call "spy polices" because they don't explain how your data is kept private, but rather how the corporate giants intrude in your digital life and use your information for their purposes — usually to make a buck..

It's not surprising that people generally do not read the privacy policies and terms of service.  They are designed to obfuscate and seem to be written by attorneys paid by the word to make the document more complex.  Then there is the sheer amount of time that would be involved in looking at them.  A study by Aleecia McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor found that it would take the average consumer 293 hours just to skim the privacy policy at each website they visited in a year and up to 304 hours to actually read them.

So, Terms and Condition May Apply cuts to the chase and shows you the extent that your privacy is routinely invaded.  A delightful irony is a moment in the film when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is approached for an interview outside his house.  Concerned about his privacy, he asks the recording be stopped.

Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court is one of those interviewed in the documentary.

So, if you have  a moment Sunday — or don't want to watch football — watch Terms and Conditions May Apply online at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT). It's free for the first 3,000 and $3 after that.   Details of how to watch are here.

John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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