Get With It

I recently had a back and forth with someone who was having trouble accessing our web site at the office. It seems that they were using Internet Explorer 6.0 and it was very slow to load and then when she viewed it in Firefox 1.0 it was faster and viewable. I told her that all of the updates to these browsers have made them faster, more secure and more reliable. She got back to me and said that she would not update because the of the agreement terms she has to agree to to use the updated browsers compromise her security because they allow the software developer to gather information from your computer.

A little information is a dangerous thing. The agreements for software, especially open source variants are designed so that they protect the developers in the event that the user submits an error report and personal information is included. This way if that information is submitted to the developer in a bug report, the user has been warned that they may be passing sensitive information to the developing company and it’s programmers. That’s the farthest stretch I can possibly think of to what she said and even then, just don’t send any error reports. It’s not like browsers phone home and say; “hey Mozilla, Dr. Judy Freeman is using your browser to do her banking, here’s her card number…”

The only other way, I can think of that would make her claims make sense is anything in the terms of service about information submission, making it the responsibility of the user to submit information to the correct people on the web, basically protecting the developer from you submitting your information to a phishing site and having your identity stolen.

By not updating your computer, you’re more likely to have it become a drone in some botnet somewhere and then all of your information is up for grabs.

There are hundreds of people who speak legalese and when they get into browers they read word for word everything in these agreements. If there’s anything outrageously unfair in them, within moments, they’ve shared it will all of the big blogs and security gossip columns and all of that trickles down to the end users. Within a few days of changing their terms of service to say that in the event that you delete your account, Facebook wouldn’t be necessarily deleting your information from their servers, all hell broke lose and they had to change the agreement back.

I feel an enormous sense of well-being by trusting people who know what they’re reading word for word, instead of me perusing the agreement and getting a basic understanding of what’s being said, watching my back when it comes to terms of service. Just click “I agree” and get on with your day.

Author: Ian

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