Terms of Service as a Contract

Nearly every website these days boasts a terms of service, but are they actually binding? Do we find ourselves selling our souls to the website owners for merely clicking a link from a search engine to read an article? Here we will talk about these terms, and we will discuss a major bottomless pitfall of which we are standing at the precipice.

Your neighbor installs a Ring camera, and you are concerned that the thing can watch you come and go. Of course, your neighbor will get a notification every time you walk in front of the camera, and considering how addicted most people are to their cell phones and stop everything to check a notification, the gross paranoia of present-day America is that your neighbor will know every time you come and go.

The American Social Credit Score

Most people, even if they haven’t read it, are familiar with the great book 1984 by George Orwell. In the book, the government is deeply oppressive. Everyone has a telescreen that is always able to see into the room. Not that every action was always seen, nor every voice always heard, but the threat that a person could be seen and heard was enough to keep everyone in line. Such a system is being implemented in China right now. Most of my readers will be familiar with the oppression. What Orwell couldn’t conceive of in 1984 was that computers could analyze the data without human intervention, and that everyone is seen and heard at all times, waiting only for the computer to spit out a flag for a human oppressor to review…and act on the things we are doing. So in China, they have implemented much of the 1984 style Big Brother regime.

I love Windows.  My first real computer operated on Windows 95 and despite the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ perils of the operating system, I was highly impressed with the tasks I was able to accomplish.  Prior to this computer I had acquired a junky old 386 running DOS but no windows; I was actually a technophobe, still doing math on the margins of my paper in chemistry class and avoiding as much time on computers as possible.  But I decided to attend college and with that was the foresight computers were going to be big in the future, so I saved up a couple thousand dollars for my rip-roaring Pentium 5, 100 MHz computer with 32 MB of RAM and a 1.6 GB hard drive.  I loved that computer.