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Twitter Forbrukerrådet Norwegian consumer council
Image: Twitter/Forbrukerrådet

32-hour live app terms read-a-thon in Norway

Elizabeth Schumacher
May 25, 2016

The project was launched to protest the "absurd...scope, length and complexity" of user agreements. In all, the terms of 33 apps saw the consumer advocacy group read out a chunk of text longer than Moby Dick.

https://p.dw.com/p/1IuSm

The Norwegian Consumer Council finished a marathon live stream of reading aloud terms and conditions for popular apps on Wednesday. Council members broadcast the user agreements of 33 of Norway's most popular apps, including YouTube, Netflix, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram for nearly 32 hours.

Organized as part of the social media campaign "#appfail" the Council wrote on its website that the event was to highlight how the "absurd" length of these agreements encouraged users to "waive fundamental privacy," and allowed the firms running the apps to track users, resell personal data, and change the terms without notice.

"The current state of terms and conditions for digital services is bordering on the absurd. Their scope, length and complexity mean it is virtually impossible to make good and informed decisions," said Council Digital Policy Director Finn Myrstad.

In total, the Council read out over 250,000 words in Norwegian and English - more than are in the New Testament.

While the idea may seem laughable, Myrstad means business. His team has won major consumer rights cases against firms as big as Apple. In 2014, he successfully saw through a complaint that company did not notify users of changes to its terms of use for the iCloud data storage service.

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