Renewed attention on Terms of Service agreements

A Facebook login page. Terms of Services agreements for such services have received renewed recent attention.

With the recent controversies over both Facebook and Google apps and their use of user data, Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson joined Kai Ryssdal to talk about the power we give tech companies when we use their services.

Google’s location tracking data, for example, is key in the ongoing conversation about what permissions we give to apps.

“Depending on the app permissions and settings you've agreed to," Johnson says, "I could track your every move for any day you've had Google Maps running on your phone.”

This discussion has resurfaced because of Google’s Location History feature, which lists all location data the company has collected from your account. The good news is you can delete all that data by clicking on a link there.

Apple manages application permissions differently from Android; Google has the user accept conditions before downloading, while Apple uses “just-in-time” permissions, which allow the user to accept or deny permissions as one begins to use the app.

Terms of Service — a legal document which a consumer must agree to simply to use a website or service, let alone the mobile app — are another issue. Facebook's alone is is 4,500 words long. A recent study said it would take six weeks to read privacy sections in the terms of service for online services.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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