Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gooey EULA Fun at Pintrest

Pintrest got an unwanted week of attention as copyright advocates mounted a campaign against the hot new social network. Guess what? The week ends with Pintrest updating it's terms of service.

Ah yes, that EULA (End User License Agreement) that hardly anyone reads or notices until there is trouble.

Pintrest makes it clear -- you shouldn't be posting things you don't own copyright to, and to give in to the copyright crowd (and gain a little more DMCA protection) Pintrest made it easier to report violations of copyright.

But then, there was this:

Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.


Perhaps it should have said, Pintrest really wanted to sell your content in the data mining sense -- you suddenly got ads from say, Lowes, if you had pinned something that was in the home improvement part of the site. And photographers and other creative types took it to mean because the site is so visual that Pintrest wanted to sell your actual image creations.

Because Pintrest (and several new other services like Path) have another dirty little secret. On those "would you like FILL-IN THE BLANK WITH SERVICE NAME OF YOUR CHOICE to find your friends using . . . ", what the service is really doing is uploading your whole address book to its servers. Why? Oh, to make it work better for you. And, to harvest all those names and addresses.

Path and others were revealed to be archiving and storing those names. Why again? Just to make it convenient for you as a user of again, fill in the blank with whoever you want here, because they will help you by keeping those on file. In the server.

That is something that should concern us. However, when you consider how much of your data is now mine-able, searchable, track-able . . . what's another service watching you.

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