This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

10 Things You Didn't Know You Signed

4. Facebook: Give advertisers information about me
Since its inception Facebook has been a lightning rod for controversy, often related to the terms users must abide by. One notable example was when many users were angered to learn about Beacon, an advertising initiative that would mine user data and publicly post online purchases they made. In 2009, the site was prompted to amend its privacy agreement when existing language was deemed open ended enough to allow it the ability to collect and repurpose posted content in any way it desired.

5. Amazon Kindle: My blog belongs to you
Internet law blogger Mike Young recently cautioned against using Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle as an outlet for blogs.

His concern is that "when you sign up, you're giving Amazon a license to do virtually whatever it wants with your blog's content."

"This includes modifying your content, or even turning it into a book without additional permission from you," he adds.

The specific text Young refers to reads: "You hereby grant to each Amazon party, throughout the term of this agreement, a nonexclusive, worldwide right and license to distribute publications as described herein, directly and through third-party distributors, in all digital formats by all digital distribution means available, such right to include, without limitation, the right to: use, reproduce, adapt, modify, and create derivative works of and use and distribute, as we determine appropriate, in our sole discretion."

6. Kodak: I'll pay annually for free storage
Amid the rush to cloud-based storage, be wary of how safe your data will be and for how long.

Kodak Gallery, for example, offers "free" online photo storage. But if you don't read the user agreement, you may face the unpleasant surprise of having those precious memories disappear.

Among Kodak's (EK) terms of use: "To maintain free storage of your images on the site, you need to make purchases totaling at least $4.99 or $19.99, depending upon your storage usage, at least once every 12 months. If you do not meet the applicable purchase requirement, your images may be deleted."

7. Time Warner Cable: I'll behave myself
How you behave yourself online is also defined, albeit with some gray areas, in many user agreements. Video game networks, for example, ban offensive language, including obscenities and slurs.

Time Warner Cable's (TWC - Get Report) Internet connections "may not be used to upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available any materials or content that violate or infringe on the rights or dignity of others." Does a YouTube video of getting hit in the crotch by a baseball bat count as an affront to your dignity?

Failing to read before you click can also lead to ongoing charges, unwanted downloads, the monitoring of what sites you visit (and for how long) and even hijack your CPU.

8. Digsby: My computer is yours to use as you wish
There was considerable outcry a couple of years ago when users of the instant-messaging client and aggregator Digsby discovered that signing off on the user agreement gave the software the right to collect data and install additional programs derided by users as "malware" and "spamware."

Agreeing to the terms meant you also gave permission for the software to "use the processing power of your computer when it is idle to run downloaded algorithms (mathematical equations) and code within a process. You understand that when the software uses your computer, it likewise uses your CPU, bandwidth and electrical power. The software will use your computer to solve distributed computing problems, such as but not limited to, accelerating medical research projects, analyzing the stock market, searching the Web and finding the largest known prime number."

9. E-cards: Please send me spam
E-cards, those cute and glittery holiday messages relatives love to send, often require you to approve a user agreement. Doing so can open the floodgates for spyware and pop-up programs.

10: McAfee/Microsoft: I won't tell anyone what I think of your product
To the dismay and ongoing disregard of hackers, many software packages prohibit modification or reverse engineering. Other software also tries to suppress users who might want to critique their purchase.

"Hidden within the terms of many EULAs are often serious demands asking consumers to sign away fundamental rights," the Electronic Frontier Foundation says on its website. "Many agreements on database and middleware programs forbid the consumer from comparing his or her product with another and publicly criticizing the product. This obviously curtails free speech and makes it more difficult for consumers to get accurate information about what they're buying by inhibiting professional watchdog groups like Consumer Reports from conducting independent reviews."

This is commonly done by forbidding "benchmarking," measuring the performance of hardware or software in a controlled and defined environment. EFF cites anti-virus giant McAfee (now owned by Intel (INTC - Get Report)) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) for having included such language in past agreements.

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joe Mont.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Get more stock ideas and investing advice on our sister site,
3 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $95.01 1.05%
GOOG $682.74 -0.12%
INTC $28.82 -0.76%
MSFT $49.41 -1.50%
TWC $177.73 -2.07%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,027.05 -177.92 -1.10%
S&P 500 1,853.44 -26.61 -1.42%
NASDAQ 4,283.7530 -79.3910 -1.82%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs