Almost no one bothers to read the Terms of Service agreements on websites so a group of US lawmakers on Thursday proposed a bill to require that commercial websites and mobile apps translate their legalese into summaries that can be more easily read by people and by machines.
The bill, titled the Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability (TLDR) Act [PDF], was introduced by Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Senator Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), and Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), making it technically a bipartisan effort – something of a rarity at a time when the two major US political parties can't agree on basic facts like who was lawfully elected President in 2020.
"For far too long, blanket terms of service agreements have forced consumers to either ‘agree’ to all of a company’s conditions or lose access to a website or app entirely," said Congresswoman Trahan, a member of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, in a statement. "No negotiation, no alternative, and no real choice."
"To further slant the decision in their favor, many companies design unnecessarily long and complicated contracts, knowing that users don’t have the bandwidth to read lengthy legal documents when they’re simply trying to message a loved one or make a quick purchase."