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6 Terrifying User Agreements You've Probably Accepted

#3. OnStar Is Narcing You Out

OnStar is that incredibly convenient product many drivers would literally be lost without. Its automatic crash-response system, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance are just some of the features that make this system so popular. In fact, they field over 15,000 lifesaving calls per year. They're like guardian angels of the highway. So what could they possibly be doing that's so terrible?

cletch
"Global domination? We'd rather use the term 'global coverage'."

How about the fact that it's legally spying on everything you do? And it's a damned tattletale.

What You Agreed To:

First of all, just for OnStar to do what it advertises, it has to include a machine inside your car that tracks your every move. It knows where you're going, how fast you got there and can, at an instant, connect you to someone who can relay all of this back to you. In the hands of a less trustworthy company, it could amount to installing a slightly more helpful version of Big Brother right in your car's rearview mirror.

HBC4511
"If you want to see the future of humanity, imagine a bored woman at a desk tallying up every time you fart in traffic. Forever."

And guess what? As it turns out, OnStar is that less trustworthy company! They recently updated their terms of use contract to include two new points. First off, a new agreement forces you to allow OnStar to sell your driving data to whomever they want. We're talking stuff like vehicle speed and location, current odometer reading, driver seat-belt use and air-bag deployment. If that doesn't sound too bad, wait until they sell it to your insurance company, Speedy.

There's also a fine chance that, much like the GPS company TomTom, they could receive a subpoena ordering them to release your data to the police. And since we're talking about technology that can basically record everything you do and say inside your vehicle, OnStar offers so much more information than your typical GPS. In other words, if you're fleeing from justice, don't do it in a newer vehicle.

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"No, sir, I'm afraid we don't have any models without the spying feature."

And all of that terrible stuff is just covered in the first update to their terms of service. Things get even more police-state-like with the second update. See, even if you decide that having a set of eyes monitoring you from inside your vehicle and waiting to tell the feds every time you send a text message at a red light is more than you're willing to put up with, it might be too late to do anything about it. Because that second update basically states that, even if you cancel your OnStar service, they'll still probably go ahead and keep watching you.

A forensic scientist recently canceled the service and found it extremely difficult to sever the data link between his vehicle and the OnStar headquarters. And that guy is a scientist! Regular people would probably have better luck just driving their car straight off a cliff than trying to figure that shit out.

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"Account canceled."

So before you click "I Agree," make sure you've got nothing to hide. Because you are being watched.

#2. iTunes Knows Who You Are and What You're Doing

We're not the first ones to make light of iTunes' lengthy terms of use agreement. They practically bring the ridicule upon themselves by making changes to it every two weeks. In the time it would take to read that 56-page agreement each time it's updated, you could do so many other useful things, like drive to a state you've never visited, read a good book or download the first 18 minutes of a movie on iTunes. In fact, the iTunes user agreement is such a lengthy and confusing debacle, South Park dedicated an entire episode to mocking it.


Buying Apple products does feel a little like ass-to-mouth sometimes.

So let's boil it down for you: Apple can use iTunes to watch you. All the time.

What You Agreed To:

It's called geo tracking, and it means that, once you agree, Apple is able to see your precise location. Basically, the location data your phone has been storing is sent to a hidden database file and syncs it to your computer whenever you connect your phone. This means that somewhere hidden on your computer is a log of everywhere you've been with a longitude/latitude coordinate and a time stamp. Probably two of them, if you're dating a crazy person. Officially, Apple says that the purpose is to "improve our services, content and advertising," but godDAMN it's eerie.

If for some reason you object to a company demanding to know where you are every second of the day in exchange for nothing more than the right to buy (oops, we mean license) Coldplay songs for $1.29 a pop, no problem. It just means you can't ever use the iTunes Store.

Even turning the built-in GPS off probably won't help matters, because Apple's terms never explicitly state that they'll stop tracking you once the GPS is turned off. And it's been proven that they don't.

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"IOS will never be able to read Flash, or your fucks."

What if you don't own an Apple handheld, but you just like iTunes for your music? Bad news: They're still watching you. The service agreement overtly states that iTunes takes data from your device or computer. So even if you don't have a handheld device of theirs tracking your every move, they can still see where you are when you're using your computer.

Of course, they're only sharing this info with their "Partners and Licensees." That narrows the list down to just about anyone who wants to be a part of Apple's affiliate program. So rest easy knowing that your data is only potentially being shared with damn near every company on the planet.

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Oh, quit whining. It's not like you were using your private location data anyway.

#1. You're Almost Always Giving Up Your Right to Sue

Have you ever gotten so pissed off at the way a company was jerking you around that you just wanted to sue them for every penny they're worth? Of course you have. That's what the justice system is for, to help you get sweet vengeance when you've been wronged. The courts level the playing field between us regular Joes and the boardrooms full of millionaires who would screw us 24 hours a day if they could get away with it.

Getty
"If we lube their whole bodies up, we'll see a 30 to 70 percent bump in violation efficiency."

And that's why the aforementioned millionaires have gotten you to sign away your right to sue.

What You Agreed To:

Damn near every user agreement now includes a clause about arbitration. In short, this means that in exchange for using any given service, you agree not to sue should a dispute arise. Instead, your case will be taken in front of an arbitrator who will listen to both sides, one of which will include a team of high-powered lawyers. The other side, of course, will just include you. But on the bright side, you'll finally get a chance to put everything you learned from years of watching Matlock into action.


Sadly, no amount of training can mimic those eyebrows.

And this isn't some fine-print thing, either. It's very clearly laid out on your agreement page. Usually it will be something simple, along the lines of "You agree that, by entering into this Agreement, you and _____ are each waiving the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action."

Netflix, for example, was getting sued out the ass, so why not update the terms and take away people's right to do it? And remember when the PlayStation Network got hacked? Sony remembers. That made a lot of people mad -- mad enough to go to court. That's why they changed their terms to prevent your disputes from ending up there.

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"We haven't heard any complaints about the new rules. I'm sorry, did I say 'heard'? I meant 'listened to'."

You will find similar terms in the online contracts of PayPal, eBay, most cellphone contrac- you know what? Just assume it's every company.

Again, we're not saying these companies are going to screw you. They've just made sure that, legally, they can if they ever feel like it.

Erik Germ is the owner of hugefrigginarms.com and would love for you to follow him on Twitter.

For more companies that got screwed before they starting screwing you, check out 6 Global Corporations Started by Their Founder's Shitty Luck. Or learn about the ones that just decided to screw everyone in 6 Companies That Rigged The Game (And Changed the World).

And stop by LinkSTORM because you need to do something while you eat all that choclate.

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