Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time talking within the VRM community about the need for a Standard Agreement covering the use of user-provided information in online services. Something that could eventually replace the confusing, complicated, overwhelmingly ignored, and legally questionable Terms of Service (TOS) at so many websites.
The idea is that we should coordinate a global conversation to develop a Standard Agreement that credibly represents the voice of the user. We’d start by clarifying the data rights for user contributions and eventually cover the entire TOS in a framework addressing the standard kinds of transactions most users do every day online. The immediate benefit for users: ridding the web of nearly all the annoying checkboxes we are currently forced to check, indicating agreement to legal contracts we never actually read.
Facebook has seen the same writing on the wall: users are already in charge. After the fiasco of trying to update their TOS last month, they have turned to a vote of their membership to select the new Facebook TOS to use.
Of course, members can only vote for a slate already approved by Facebook, but it’s a start.