37 contradictions between WhatsApp and its terms and conditions

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This is what happens when you do not update your legal terms in 4 years

WhatsApp, the indisputable king of worldwide messaging, is celebrating a curious anniversary: the 7th of July its terms and conditions (Privacy Policy included) turned 4 years without being updated. Yes, they are very outdated.

Bu why is this significative? We have talked about it before, but the important thing to remember is that the terms and conditions are a contract formed by clauses previously established by one the parties (the company), where the other party (the consumer) can only accept them. That means that the user cannot negotiate those clauses, having just the option to accept them or not.

This kind of contract is used by multiple services that regularly need to sign an agreement with a huge amount of users. Those contracts, the terms and conditions, in summary say: “This is what we do, do you take it or not?”

The legal protection for this kind of contracts is more extensive. For example, to protect the users from unfair clauses that could try to impose the user a conduct or an action that they did not have the power to negotiate.

For that reason, the law compels the companies (the parties that usually establish the terms and conditions), to be very clear, transparent and precise about them. In fact, if the user does not have a real chance to read those terms when the contract is being entered into, those clauses wouldn’t be part of it (according to art. 7 a) of the Spanish Ley sobre Condiciones Generales de Contratación).

WhatsApp has been adding new features to the service for the last 4 years. More than a few of them have important effects on the rights of the user, for example its privacy (the blue double check, the VOIP calling service, the buyout by Facebook or the end-to-end encryption of the chats).

However, those and of more aspects of the service are non-existent on the terms and conditions accepted by a user when registering in WhatsApp. In fact, some of the clauses totally contradict what the user can do on the service.

Having said that, let’s take a look at those absences and contradictions.

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Are millennials interested in legal content? Creating a professional profile on Snapchat

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Millennials or not, everyone wants to know the rules of the game

Let’s start by the beginning, what is a millennial? According to Wikipedia, millennials are the members of the so called Generation Y. That means boys and girls that were born starting in 1982. However, some people extend that date until the year 2000.

So, although I barely pass, I’m a millennial. :p

The concept “millennial” was cooked by William Strauss and Neil Howe when talking about the children born in 1982 and that would go to college with the beginning of the new millennium. In fact, William and Neil published a book called “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation”  in 2000.

And that’s how the term was born.

What are the traits of a millennial? Generally speaking: a) they are part of the most educated and culturally diverse generation that the world has ever known; b) millennials are politically liberals; c) they experiment some kind of Peter Pan syndrome, so they delay their incorporation to the “adult” world; d) millennials aren’t very religious and; e) they use technology extensively (to the point of being considered “digital natives” almost by default).

Finally, the most important fact. From 2020 and beyond, and just in the USA, millennials will represent more than half of the job market.

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The Legal LAB from Términos y Condiciones launches “Converses Tyc” in Balearic Islands

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Converses TyC: fostering the promotion of legal tech content in Balearic Islands

Nowadays is key to promote legal knowledge in the hyper-digitalized society that we live in. After all, to know the rules of the game is always important.

To share that knowledge beyond the places and venues that usually talk about legal content, and to do it in plain English, is basic too.

Finally, to know the companies and people that work and study new technologies around you, is a necessity.

With this concept in mind, “Converses TyC” is born from the Legal LAB of Términos y Condiciones. The idea is to organize a series of face-to-face events around Balearic Islands to talk about technology and its laws. On one hand the people that work and manage the tech. On the other hand, the people that study and apply the norms.

The purpose is to go beyond Majorca (this is a long term project, so we are not in a hurry). We don’t want to focus on a specific place (there is life beyond Palma). It won’t have a fixed calendar (maybe 6 events per year). It will be free and open to everyone interested (without the need for inscription, whenever that’s possible). Finally, promoting the digital aspects of it (for example, through streaming or shorts videos of the presentations).

Now that the introduction is done, we’ll start “Converses TyC” on July 1st, Friday, in relation to 3D printing, in Manacor and with 3DSOS.

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Facebook forbids banks from using its users data when applying for a loan | Does it?

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What if your network of friends from Facebook could decide your eligibility for a loan?

Last week a British startup called Score Assured, from the real-estate market, got on the news thanks to the particular service that offers: if a user agrees, the service scans the Facebook account of the user (as well as some other social networks) to show the landlord how probable it is that the potential tenant may pay the rent.

In other words, a twenty-something wants to rent a house. Due to its age, its still limited credit history does not  help to value if or for how long can he/she assume the obligation to pay for a rent. However, its vast digital life provides plenty of clues about its standard of living and from its friends. Therefore, the landlord of the house that he or she wants to rent may hesitate about its ability to pay for it. That being the case, the landlord asks the potential tenant for a report of its digital life, so that extra info can be used to make a better decision.

Science fiction? No, a reality. Our digital profiles are constantly growing and little by little the data pool is becoming huge. That data pool can be useful to find out about our cinematographic preferences or the time of the year when our income increases. The thing is that if the first piece of info comes in handy for some companies, the other one too.

In any case, although this service has stirred up some controversy, to properly function it requires the consent from the user. That means that the potential tenant voluntarily agrees to the scanning of its social media accounts. Having said that, what would happen if a social network were 1/7 of mankind is already a member, uses the huge amount of data gathered about us for something similar? Specially, if it does making use of the consent that we already gave when we signed up. Yes, we are talking about Facebook and what the future holds in store for us in relation to the use of our data. Although in fact, in some cases this is already happening .

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13 details about the privacy of Miitomo

Miitomo y su privacidad

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The first game from Nintendo for mobile

Yesterday Nintendo made history with the worldwide release of its first game for mobiles devices, Miitomo.

A new path for the Japanese company in a category that they almost invented, the portable video game console, but where the landscape has really changed with the appearance of smartphones.

Miitomo is a free game/app, although with micro payments, that allows the user to create an avatar (a Mii) than can be used to play mini games, change clothes, take pictures and communicate with the Miis of our friends. The distinctive feature here is that the Mii that I create will ask me something, I will respond to it and then that answer will be shared with the Miis of my friends. Therefore, the app is a mixed between a video game, a social network and messaging service.

As has already been said, although the app is free, you can buy new content such as clothes. How? Well, you buy this content using the virtual currency from the game. Those coins can be gained by playing mini games, answering questions from the Miis, commenting the answers of your friends or buying them with real money.

On the other hand, and being Nintendo a brand very much associated with children, is interesting to point out that you must be at least 13 years old to play Miitomo.

Therefore, being this the first game from Nintendo for smartphones, and with micro payments, it sounds like a good idea to take a closer look at its privacy.

Miitomo’s Privacy Policy can be found here. Also interesting is the quite long FAQ section for the app.

Let’s go with those 13 details!

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4th Anniversary – Now with a widget for the terms and conditions changes

Cuarto Aniversario de Términos y Condiciones

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4 years ago I started writing Terms and Conditions. Time goes by and the life events that come with it even more…

If truth be told, this have been quite a trip so far. Thanks to Terms and Conditions I’ve had the chance to meet some very interesting people, to access to some good professional offers, to reach out to mass media that sounded too good to be true and even to contact with institutions that seemed unattainable. Any bad things? Yeah, sure. In any case, I’ve learnt from them the same or even more than from the good ones. So, nothing to complain about.

All in all, and even taking into account everything that has been done so far, I still think that this is just starting. There is still a long way to go. In fact, I have the feeling that this 5th year is going to be specially intense. ;-)

But let’s check what we have in store for today, we are debuting the widget for the Tracker of Terms and Conditions! Developed by the great Alberto de Rodrigo.

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13 services already mentioning the online dispute resolution European platform

Resolución de Conflictos Online

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On March 15th, that means today, we celebrate the World Consumer Rights Day. By coincidence, the European platform for online dispute resolution (or ODR) went live just a month ago.

But, what is this platform about online dispute resolution developed by the European Commission?

The ODR is a one-stop counter for those cases where a user from the European Union (EU) bought online from a service based in the EU, and something went wrong. If the user wants to submit a complaint against the trader (in some countries it can happen the other way around too), and he or she wants to reach an out-of-court settlement, the platform is the meeting point for all the parties involved: the one submitting the complaint, the one receiving it and the dispute resolution body that will deal with it.

This way, the consumer who lives in the EU, that bought something online and who wants to complain for a problem related to that deal, can reach out to this European platform for online dispute resolution so:

  • He or she can submit a complaint.
  • He or she can choose a dispute resolution body to deal with the complaint (although both parties have to agree on and taking into account the country where the consumer lives).
  • The dispute resolution body handles the complaint.
  • The complaint has an outcome.

All of that without abandoning the platform, in the 23 languages from the EU and being always up to date on the complaint or even future ones.

You can find here all the different stages in the procedure.

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