Bipartisan lawmakers propose ‘TLDR Act’ to simplify terms of service agreements

Washington-DC

(The Hill) – A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced legislation in both chambers Thursday aimed at simplifying websites’ terms of service agreements.

The Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability (TLDR) Act would require websites to include a “summary statement” that explains their terms in easy-to-digest language and discloses what, if any, sensitive personal data they collect.

“For far too long, blanket terms of service agreements have forced consumers to either ‘agree’ to all of a company’s conditions or lose access to a website or app entirely,” Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), the sponsor of the House version of the bill, said in a statement. 

“To further slant the decision in their favor, many companies design unnecessarily long and complicated contracts, knowing that users don’t have the bandwidth to read lengthy legal documents when they’re simply trying to message a loved one or make a quick purchase,” she added.

The Senate version of the TLDR Act was introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

“Users should not have to comb through pages of legal jargon in a website’s terms of services to know how their data will be used,” Cassidy said. “Requiring companies to provide an easy-to-understand summary of their terms should be mandatory and is long overdue.”

The TLDR Act would be enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

The legislation comes amid bipartisan interest in improving transparency in the tech space. 

“Informing consumers is a bipartisan issue, and I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to provide real choice online,” Lujan said.

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