It’s not just social-media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, which have been tweaking their Terms of late, but ones such as Roku, Fitbit and e-commerce firms, pretty much any tech company that collects data on you for whatever reason.
The reason for so many updates and notifications lately is most likely connected to European data-protection rules set to go into effect on May 25. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is meant to require companies to be more transparent about their data policies and to give customers more control over their own info.
There are some doubts, however, as to whether this will actually clamp down on privacy problems, or simply give an advantage to our largest tech firms by making it less likely people will allow less-well-known companies the same kind of access to their private information than they already allow the Googles and Facebooks of the world.
If you haven’t been getting these emails and are curious what they contain, you can see a few examples on the site MailCharts or check out Terms of Service; Didn’t Read, which hasn’t been updated recently, but which has some ratings for popular online services based on these kinds of policies.
Every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or topic suggestions
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