Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Have you accepted liability fro $10,000,000 of Damage? Or more?

Last Jan 22, I blogged about my attempt to get www.NING.com to accept my modified Terms of Service so that I could use their account. When this story is over (somehow, it isn't!), I will tell you all about it. But meanwhile, I want to warn you, in case you agreed to a similar term.

I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect this ToS term means what it says: that regardless of how careful you are, you are responsible for any damage done by a hacker who logs in, somehow, as you:

Accounts, Passwords, and Security
You must be a registered User to create Networks on the Ning Platform. Networks and their Network Creators, in turn, determine whether Users need to be registered with Ning to contribute Content in that Network. That is up to the discretion of the Network Creator. As a User, you are responsible for keeping your password secure. Names of Social Networks and Ning IDs are non-transferable. You will be solely responsible and liable for any activity that occurs under your Ning ID.


You say you don't know what ToS terms you've ever agreed to? Well for starters, here's a Google search of some websites who have that ToS.

NING told me that over 150,000 people have accepted their ToS. I think the chance of me personally having to pay for hacker-caused damages is very small. The collective risk to any of 150,000 people might be greater.

By the way, I assume that every web site that uses this ToS term -- especially NING -- has excellent security to prevent the type of breakin I fear. If so, it might even be safe to agree to this ToS term. But security is not perfect, and none of these sites has shown me how they keep my data secure. In the lack of knowledge, I shall be cautious. What about you?
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