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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Imbalance of bargaining power in DWP benefit agreements and software licensing agreements

I believe an excellent analogy for the lack of bargaining power that benefit claimants have in what they/we get signed up to is in computer software licensing agreements. If we do not agree to the latter, we cannot get the benefit; and if we do not click to say, "I have read and agree to the terms of the [software in question's] License Agreement..." we cannot install it to our computers.

Faced with loads of gobbledygook such as the labyrinth of languages beyond the labyrinth of irrelevant-to-the-current-upgrade other software licenses that, say, Adobe Flash Player presents the reader/user with beyond the 'Read the license here' presents one with, I would not be surpised if most users resign themselves to signing without reading what they are supposedly agreeing to. 

Pressed for time as a person with a learning difficulty — resulting in extremely slow reading speed — anyway I have mostly not bothered to read the damned corporate legalese. Yet today I decided to have a go at the challenge presented by the 'Read the license agreement here' clickable link, with the aid of using the 'find' key combination at the eventual multilingual 54 page pdf document for Adobe Flash Player http://wwwimages.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/legal/licenses-terms/pdf/Flash_Player_21_0.pdf

And there I found this item:
7.3 Local Storage. Flash Player and Adobe AIR may allow third parties to store certain information on your Computer in a local data file known as a local shared object. The type and amount of information that the third party application requests to be stored in a local shared object can vary by application and such requests are controlled by the third party. To find more information on local shared objects and learn how to limit or control the storage of local shared objects on your Computer, please visit http://www.adobe.com/go/flashplayer_security.

What would those 'third parties' stand to gain from such data collection? What safeguards would operate to ensure that the user is not abused through such agreed snooping? Why should anyone be obliged to sign up to such a contract clause? Maybe it's time for me to uninstall Adobe Flash Player and thus rule myself out of receiving online video content?

The title of a 1990's book by David C Korten comes to my mind: 'When corporations rule the world'.

1 comment:

  1. Does Adobe know they punish people without trial who do not sign up to the DWP agreement for Universal Credit?