We have all gone to a website and, in accessing the website’s services, have agreed to “terms and conditions” that include a litany of policies, including privacy policies governing how the company maintaining the website will use our personal information obtained while accessing the website. And let’s be honest, even as attorneys or soon-to-be-attorneys, many of us usually do not actually take the time to read the laundry list of items we are agreeing to just so we can obtain a 20% coupon. I know I’m guilty of regularly clicking “I agree” without reading every term and condition.
Facebook’s victory raises two practical concerns in mind. First being, what all have I agreed to with respect to my personal information? For example, I own an iPhone 7 with which I can say, “Hey Siri?” and it will respond. In other words, the microphone in my iPhone is always listening to what I say. This makes me wonder, by purchasing and using my iPhone, have I agreed that Apple can record my conversations and use “buzz” words it picks up to market directly to me? Or worse, are there apps I’ve downloaded to my iPhone in which I agreed that those companies can record and sell my conversations to third-parties? I’ve likely given up much privacy without even realizing it.
In the end, Facebook’s victory is a good reminder that as consumers we should not take so lightly the privacy policies to which we regularly agree. Additionally, as students of the law we should critically think about what privacy policies’ similar to Facebook’s mean for our individual privacy in our modern world. Maybe we already decided, as a society, that convenience and improved technology are worth exchanging for less privacy. Nonetheless, it is something of which I know I need to be more cognizant and I think it would not hurt if we all think about a little more.