Terms of service app activism for the silent majority

Terms of service app activism for the silent majority 1024 565 StJohn Deakins

The approach we’re taking for revealing terms of service in a new light means you’ll be able to see and understand what all that small print means to your rights, stay informed as they change and are updated, and also take action.

Taking action means several things. Firstly, it applies your voice to a much-needed collective conversation by users with the tech companies that employ these terms. Let’s say for example you love using Amazon for the convenience and variety of goods you can buy online. You may agree your Amazon experience improves when they use your data to suggest other things you might like – but sharing that with third parties you don’t know? That may feel like a betrayal of your trust. Instead of saying, I’m not happy about this, we grumble and shuffle our feet at the thought of dashing out an angry email, waiting for customer service to respond, or holding a mass rally with homemade placards and songs of freedom. Somewhere along the way we’ve equated strength of feeling with downright self-sacrificing inconvenience, and have lost our voices in the process.

CitizenMe provides app activism for the digital citizens of the world. Together, we’re fighting fire with fire by making it just as convenient for you to voice your disapproval of terms of service, as it is to register your acceptance of them. Behold: the one-click process! Let’s use its magical power for expressing opinions beyond ‘Like’.

If a weight of disapproval takes aim at a particular term, we’ll not only share this information with you and the rest of the CitizenMe community, but also the media and the organisation in question. We believe this is a fair and democratic way to begin a public conversation with the aim of changing terms of service to reflect the wishes of the people who are subject to them.

There may be some instances where a terms of service revelation or update makes you think twice about whether you want to continue using that service. Alternatively, you may feel a service has, for any number of reasons, outlived its usefulness in your life and you want to disengage. Only it’s not always that simple is it? Is there a difference between deactivating and deleting your account? Is your data deleted at the same time? How do you go about it? Sometimes, pulling the plug on a service can be anything but a straightforward experience, so we’re changing that too.

Now through your CitizenMe app, you’ll have immediate transparency on how easy or complex this process is for each service you use, and see where it falls on a red, amber, green scale of ease. Next, you’ll be able to navigate in one click to the ‘delete my account’ process AND know what data is wiped and what remains, according to the terms of service you agreed to when you signed up.

If this degree of visibility and app activism appeals, be sure to sign up for your invitation for our iOS prelaunch. You’ll be able to see the CitizenMe app in action and try out the features we’ve mentioned.

Photo credit: Jeff Kubina – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

StJohn Deakins

StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With with a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.

All stories by: StJohn Deakins

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