Why You Should Read Terms of Service, Make Pokemon GO Go Away… [Tech News Digest]
Everybody skips past Terms of Service, PokeGone turns Pokemon GO into Pokemon NO, Facebook keeps your conversations secret, Blizzard silences douchebag World of Warcraft players, and Samuel L. Jackson explains Game of Thrones.
A Reminder to Read Terms of Service
It’s absolutely imperative that you read Terms of Service before installing an app or joining a service. Probably more now than ever before. The problem is the majority of people never read Terms of Service, and those who do don’t pay enough attention. No, they really don’t.
We know this for sure thanks to the results of a survey carried out by Jonathan Obar of York University and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch from the University of Connecticut. Their paper is called “The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy polices and terms of service policies of social networking services.”
As reported by Ars Technica, the duo conducted a survey of 543 university students. These students were asked to take part in a pre-release evaluation of a social networking site called NameDrop, which was entirely fake. NameDrop was assigned a ToS modified from that of LinkedIn, with “gotcha clauses” added to discover whether students were paying attention.
These gotcha clauses meant that by signing up to NameDrop students would agree to give up their first-born child and have their data shared with future employers and the NSA (National Security Agency). No one in their right mind would agree to such terms, but 399 of the 543 participants joined without even having read the Terms of Service. Even those who did take a cursory glance at the ToS only spent an average of 51 seconds reading them. And 98% missed the gotcha clauses.
The results of this survey are unlikely to change anyone’s attitude to ToS, and the vast majority will continue to ignore them in their entirety. However, it shows how dangerous skipping past them could be, and suggests social networks and other services could add anything to their Terms of Service without anyone really noticing.
Pokemon GO Be Gone With PokeGone
As you may have noticed, a little game called Pokemon GO has taken the world by storm over the past week. It’s not hard to see why, as Nintendo and Niantic have made the dreams of millions of people, young and old, come true by turning them into real-life Pokemon hunters.
However, things may have got a little out of hand, with technology websites countless stories about Pokemon GO, and the number of mentions of the game on social networking sites going through the roof. So, one bright spark has created a solution for everyone who has had enough of Pokemon GO.
Based on the Trump Filter, which removes all traces of Donald Trump, PokeGone is a Google Chrome extension which promises to remove all mentions of Pokemon from your browsing experience. You simply install the extension, set the level of content blocking which suits your needs — Mild, Aggressive, and Vindictive — and Pikachu’s your uncle, Jynx is your aunt, etc.
To be honest, we don’t expect the Pokemon GO craze to last too much longer, at least at this level of insanity. So, don’t go unfriending people or blacklisting websites because they’re reacting to the zeitgeist. Normal service will be resumed soon, we promise. In the meantime, PokeGone can turn Pokemon GO into Pokemon NO.
Facebook Is Trialing Secret Conversations
Facebook will soon offer Messenger users the chance to have secret conversations that are encrypted from end-to-end. This means that no one other than the people involved in the conversation will be able to read the messages going from one device to another, and that includes Facebook itself.
When your mom carries on facebook chat conversations with a friends hacked page….. pic.twitter.com/Xfr54u8q4v
— Wilson Caldwell (@WilsonCwell) July 4, 2016
Secret conversations (already offered by WhatsApp ) will be offered on an optional basis, but won’t be the default as Facebook recognizes that end-to-end encryption isn’t always the right option. Secret conversations won’t support videos, GIFs, and other rich content, but they will allow users to specify how long each message is visible for, a la Snapchat.
WoW: Blizzard Silences Abusive Gamers
Blizzard is adding what it calls The Silence Penalty to World of Warcraft. This will condemn players accused of being abusive when chatting to being silenced in the game. Players can be reported for inappropriate behavior through the Spam or Abusive Chat categories.
The Silence Penalty bans players from talking in chat and global channels, sending in-game mail and party invitations, and creating calendar events. The first penalty will last 24 hours, with the duration of all subsequent penalties doubled (with no maximum!).
A Beginners’ Guide to Game of Thrones [NSFW]
And finally, Game of Thrones is unmissable television which I wholeheartedly recommend to everybody reading this, regardless of your interests. The problem is that we’re six seasons into Game of Thrones now, and most newbies won’t know where to begin . Thankfully, HBO has the answer in the form of Samuel L. Jackson.
This video shows the legend that is Samuel L. Jackson offering a beginners’ guide to Game of Thrones. He covers the main happenings on the show from Season One right up to the (almost) end of Season Five. Which should save the laziest among you around 50 hours of television. I mean, you should just binge-watch the entire thing , but this offers an alternative route.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
When was the last time you read a Terms of Service? Are you sick of hearing about Pokemon GO yet? Will you be keeping your conversations away from Facebook’s prying eyes? What punishments should abusive gamers face? Do you now understand what’s happening in Game of Thrones?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Ryan Riegner via Flickr
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