Globe & Mail & Lawyers

My search for that rarest of commodities, reliable reportage on the climate issue and the Copenhagen summit, lead me to The Globe & Mail and an article headlined Facts and Fiction on Climate Change. Good stuff, or a good start anyway.

But it included a dozen or so comments from climate change deniers of one stripe or another (there seem to be several). I wanted to post my own reasonable reasons for pursuing a strong carbon treaty, so i decided to create an account.

Simple enough: name, email, password, postal code. Oh, and the check box beside the little sentence that reads “Yes, I have read, understand and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.”

I know most people just click the little box and get on with it, but like to know what i’m agreeing to. So i clicked the Privacy Policy link, only to find a page easily twenty screens long — the longest by far i’ve ever seen. In fact, i just pasted it into a blank OpenOffice text document to do a word count, and it weighs in at 4,528 words — a respectable short story (written in boring legalese).

The Terms and Conditions? Even longer: 5,654 words, 27 sections, and a whopping 15 pages as cut-and-pasted into a blank text document.

If newspapers are wondering why they’re having difficulty attracting and holding readers, this might offer one tiny clue.I mean, i like thoroughness, but if i can buy a newspaper with $1.25 why do i have do sign a contract to read it on-line?

The Privacy Policy page had a form at the bottom for “Privacy Inquiry.” I submitted this:

I just started to register for your site, but thought i’d better check out your privacy policy and terms & conditions.

The former is about twenty screens long, and the latter is longer still.

If you cannot do better than making me read half an hour of legalese to sign up with your site, i’ll have to go elsewhere.

Put the lawyers out to pasture and get some real people on the job. I’d love to read and interact with and support the G&M, but this makes it impossible.

Cheers,

~greg

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