Some license agreements on websites really annoy me. Not necessarily because they are long, complicated and allow the owners of the website in question to come into my house, put their feet up on the sofa and drink my alcohol, but because in order to get past them I either have to waste 20 minutes of my time, or lie.
Why? Because at the end of the fifty-page lump of legalese, which is crammed into a tiny textbox with a scrollbar to make it really unlikely that anyone will ever read the whole thing, they put a checkbox like this:
I have read, understood and agree to the terms of this Agreement
In order to check the box and proceed, I actually have to have read the entire thing in all its glorious tedium – otherwise I’m lying. And of course, the website owners know that no-one ever reads it. In other words, they expect everyone to lie. It’s normal practice.
They often don’t even make an effort to make the agreement relate to what you are actually wanting. I recently signed up for plus.net‘s resale of BTOpenzone roaming wireless access – and yet I had to assent to a license agreement which, among many pages of legalese, talked about the equipment they would install on my premises.
What’s wrong with a checkbox like this?
I agree to the terms of this Agreement
I’m resigned to them giving themselves permission to occupy my front room. It’s not like I have much choice. At least with a checkbox like that, it’ll be a pleasant surprise and I won’t have to waste my time right now.