Itunes terms and conditions as a graphic novel in many cartoonists' styles


Artist Robert Sikoryak is creating a full-length graphic novel based on the terms and conditions for Apple's Itunes, a novella-length document of eye-watering legalese that you "agree" to without ever reading. Read the rest

Snowden broke a nondisclosure EULA in order to uphold his Constitutional oath


The crooks that Edward Snowden outed (and their complicit overseers in government) like to talk about how Snowden violated an oath when he gave journalists documents that established that security services in at least five countries were breaking their own laws in order to pursue unimaginably aggressive mass surveillance. Read the rest

Yet another pre-installed spyware app discovered on Lenovo computers


A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company. Read the rest

Oracle's CSO demands an end to customers checking Oracle products for defects

Oracle Chief Security Officer Mary Ann Davidson's deleted post on the company blog was called "No, You Really Can't," and it demanded that Oracle's customers respect the company's outlandish license-agreement terms, and stop checking to see whether the products Oracle sold them were defective. Read the rest

Satanic Temple required protesters to pledge their souls to Satan as condition of entry

The Satanic Temple -- a pair of fun-loving, non-Satan-believing religious freedom activists -- unveiled the statue of Baphomet they plan to put on the Arkansas State Capitol's lawn to complement its existing Christian iconography. Read the rest

Commercial prison messaging system's terms of service lands inmate in solitary

Jpay, a service for sending messages to prisoners with a literal captive market, no longer claims copyright in messages sent to and from prisoners. Read the rest

Senators announce "Aaron Swartz Should Have Faced More Jail Time" bill

Senators Mark Kirk [R-IL] and Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] announced a bill that increases the maximum jail time for "obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization" -- which covers anything you do that violates the BS Terms of Service we all break all day long. Read the rest

IBM's banking security software demands the right to spy on you

IBM's Trusteer Rapport is a security package that many banks recommend to their customers -- but its latest license agreement includes this gem: Read the rest

World-beating email EULA

I amuse myself (and sometimes others) with my email sig, which makes you promise to release me from any agreements I've gotten into with your employer -- but it turns out I'm a rank amateur. Read the rest

If you don't agree to the new Wii U EULA, Nintendo will kill-switch it

When you bought your Wii U, it came with one set of terms-of-service; now they've changed, and if you don't accept the changes, your Wii seizes up and won't work. That's not exactly what we think of when we hear the word "agreement." Read the rest

Bill to ban terms of service that say you're not allowed to complain

Introduced by Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the draft Consumer Review Freedom Act bans the "un-American" practice of making people agree not to complain as a condition of using websites. Read the rest

Paranoid Paul: get notified of silent, sneaky terms of service updates

Paul writes, "I've created a free service called ParanoidPaul that notifies you when updates are made to the terms that affect you. I strongly believe that the websites we use every day should be accountable to their users, and transparent about changes made to their privacy policies and terms of services." Read the rest

Some considerations for potential XKCD phone purchasers

Randall Munroe's xkcd Phone has the greatest warning label of all time: "Presented in partnership with Qualcomm, Craigslist, Whirlpool, Hostess, LifeStyles, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Manufactured on equipment which also processes peanuts. Price includes 2-year Knicks contract. Phone may extinguish nearby birthday candles. If phone ships with Siri, return immediately; do not speak to her and ignore any instructions she gives. Do not remove lead casing. Phone may attract/trap insects; this is normal. Volume adjustable (requires root). If you experience sudden tingling, nausea, or vomiting, perform a factory reset immediately. Do not submerge in water; phone will drown. Exterior may be frictionless. Prolonged use can cause mood swings, short-term memory loss, and seizures. Avert eyes while replacing battery. Under certain circumstances, wireless transmitter may control God." Read the rest

You bought it, you own it, right?

In the latest Electronic Frontier Foundation post for Copyright Week, Corynne McSherry tackles one of the most troubling aspects of modern copyright law: the idea that even though you've bought a device or a copyrighted work to play on it, they're not really your property. Because of the anti-circumvention rules (which are supposed to backstop "copy protection"), it's illegal to discover how your technology works, to tell other people how their technology works, to add otherwise lawful features to your technology, and to make otherwise lawful uses of your media. Read the rest

Apps come bundled with secret Bitcoin mining programs, paper over the practice with EULAs

Researchers at Malwarebytes have discovered that some programs covertly install Bitcoin-mining software on users' computers, papering over the practice by including sneaky language in their license agreements allowing for "computer calculations, security."

The malicious programs include YourFreeProxy from Mutual Public, AKA We Build Toolbars, LLC, AKA WBT. YourFreeProxy comes with a program called Monitor.exe, which repeatedly phones home to WBT, eventually silently downloading and installing a Bitcoin mining program called "jhProtominer." Read the rest

Terms and Conditions May Apply: documentary about abusive license terms, privacy and surveillance

Cullen Hoback's documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply" is a scathing look at the abusive, lengthy fine-print that dominates our online lives. If the YouTube trailer and the non-embeddable Guardian trailer are representative, this is an important and timely film. I do quibble with one point -- the movie doesn't distinguish between the stupid license agreements that are a function of a stupid law (for example, requiring LinkedIn users to license the stuff they give to LinkedIn so that LinkedIn can display it) and the ones that are pure greed and venality (AT&T making you agree to extrajudicial wiretapping).

Hoback has an op-ed in today's Guardian where he sets out his thesis with great clarity, and draws the important connection between Patriot Act surveillance and fine-print "agreements." Unfortunately, the video itself seems to be exclusively available through Itunes, which has some pretty dreadful license terms, and mandatory DRM to boot. Read the rest

Court finds for man who rewrote the credit-card fine-print to give himself unlimited, interest-free credit

A wily Russian fellow crossed out the fine-print on an unsolicted credit-card application from Tinkoff Credit Systems in 2008 and wrote in his own terms, giving himself unlimited, interest-free credit and exemption from all fees, with a 3MM ruble fee should the bank change the terms and a 1MM ruble fee should they cancel his card. He crossed out the URL giving the terms and conditions and wrote in his own. And a court has ruled that his changes -- which were blindly accepted by the bank -- are binding. He's now suing them for breach of contract, since they refused to pay him the cancellation fee he'd written in -- he's seeking USD727,000. Read the rest

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