Digital Makeover: Find Out What's in Terms of Service Agreements #30DaysofGOOD

Do you know what you're consenting to when you agree to a site's policies? Take some time to find out.

30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD) is our monthly attempt to live better. This month we're focused on improving the way we use technology.

Terms of service, end-user license agreements, and privacy policy statements. You come across at least one of these documents every time you sign up for a new service or start using a new piece of software. You might spend a few seconds scrolling through the legalese, but it's more likely that you just click "accept" and move along.

You're not alone. A few years back, a software company called PC Pitstop proved that hardly anyone takes the time to read the fine print by including a note deep in its EULA saying it would pay $1000 to the first person to notice it and contact them about it. It took four months for anyone to get in touch.

It's no wonder nobody reads the things: According to a report (pdf) by researchers Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor, if the average Internet user fully read all of the privacy policies they reflexively agree to over the course of a year, it would take them 250 hours. And that's just privacy policies—never mind the time it would take to trudge through all those terms of service agreements.

You probably think you have a sense—more or less—of what you're consenting to when you agree to a site's policies. But what do you really know? Today's task is to take some time and find out.

Choose a site that you use often and spend at least 15 minutes reading through one of its legal agreements. Frankly, you won't get too far in just 15 minutes, but you'll at least become more familiar with the kind of language and rules these documents include.

Terms of service and privacy policies are easy to find—you can usually get to them by scrolling to the bottom of a site's front page and looking through the footer menu (or just use your browser's "find text" feature). Some docs you might explore include Facebook's data use policy, Twitter's terms of service, and Google's Policies & Principles page. Heck, you might even consider giving GOOD's terms of service a look.

Cruel and unusual punishment, you say? Well, if you can't handle even 15 minutes' worth of stuff like warranty disclaimers and limitations of liability, don't fear. Terms of Service; Didn’t Read is here to help. The new site aims to extract the most meaningful information from popular site's privacy policies and terms of service agreements, then give each site's legal docs a grade. See what ToS;DR has to say about Flickr, SoundCloud, Amazon, Apple, and dozens of others.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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