TOSBack: EFF's Much-Needed Terms of Service Tracker


The EFF just launched a service for tracking Terms of Service changes of 44 major sites including Google, Apple and recursively the EFF. TOSBack provides a feed of changes. In the screenshot below you can see a comparison of Facebook’s privacy policy, which has been updated to Facebook’s new address.


The full set of companies at launch are: Amazon, Apple, Automattic, Blizzard, Craigslist,, DoubleClick, EBay, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Facebook, Flickr, GoDaddy, Google, MySpace, Organizing For America,, Twitter,, Yahoo!, and YouTube.

I would like to see Mozilla added to the list. The EFF has this to say about the launch:

The issue of terms-of-service changes — and how and why they are made — was highlighted earlier this year when Facebook modified its terms of use. Facebook users worried that the change gave the company the right to use members’ content indefinitely. After a user revolt, Facebook announced that it would restore the former terms while it worked through the concerns users had raised.

“Some changes to terms of service are good for consumers, and some are bad,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. “But Internet users are increasingly trusting websites with everything from their photos to their ‘friends lists’ to their calendar — and sometimes even their medical information. TOSBack will help consumers flag changes in the websites they use every day and trust with their personal information.”

This is a very timely service. As internet consumer’s trust these services with our content and data we need to know when usage terms change. It’s not that I don’t trust these companies, it’s that I rely on their products and want to know what strings are attached.

[via Techmeme]