Rights vs. Services: Lesson ideas for teaching with Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

Those of you who have recently and fully read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for Facebook, Twitter, Yik Yak or any other website… raise a hand.

If you haven’t raised a hand, then you’d be in the majority. Website Terms of Service, Terms of Use and Privacy Policies are essentially impenetrable. Yet these terms theoretically govern companies’ use of the data we provide them in exchange for our, generally monetarily free, use of the services they provide us. Don’t bet that they provide these services out of generosity and good faith! The Terms stipulate what they can do to monetize you. The Radio Shack kerfuffle is a good example of a case when terms might prevent unauthorized use of data. Let’s hope. So, they’re important to read, and important to teach.

Privacy: Maker

To help teach about online rights and services, and to engage learners in making sense of Terms of Use, I’ve drafted three short Terms of Service + Privacy Policy lessons.

These cover:

  • What are (our) online rights? (exploring for what our rights are, while online)
  • Fishing for terms (finding terms of service online)
  • Invent an online service-that makes money (understanding online service providers’ motivation for storing information)

You can find these via Google Docs; they’re for open-comment and are Creative Commons, so please feel free to utilize as appropriate. They’re designed to address the Web Lit Map / Privacy Pathway badge item for “Identifying rights retained and removed through user agreements“.


What'cha thinking?