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TL;DR -- Congress Wants Shorter Legal Terms on Websites

Late last week, a bipartisan group in both the House and Senate introduced the TL;DR Act.  The bill would require websites to publish a short, machine-readable summary of their legal terms of service and policies regarding personal information. Summaries would be required to include certain mandatory disclosures relating to the website's legal terms.  

The bill's sponsors aim to make website terms and privacy policies easier to navigate. The bill defines violations as an unfair trade practice, which would confer enforcement power against non-compliant websites on the Federal Trade Commission. Small businesses (as defined by the Small Business Association) would be exempt from the bill.  

There is no indication yet how tempted other lawmakers will be to pass the TL;DR Act (named after the popular internet acronym for "too long; didn't read"). Congress and many state legislatures have shown increasing interest over the last couple of years, however, in data, website practices, and online consumer interactions in general. TL;DR may therefore be a harbinger of things to come.  

The lawmakers said the legislation will increase transparency and ensure consumers are informed about how their data is collected and used. Small businesses are exempt from the legislation, which is focused on "unnecessarily complex terms of service agreements," said Trahan.

Tags

data privacy, corporate and business, website

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