Who should keep track of all the terms and conditions updates?

Not sure when this changed, but in today’s world a software company’s update on its terms and conditions reaches the national news level. It was the case recently when nu.nl published an article about a change in Google’s Privacy Terms and its Terms of Service. The main change is that Google Ireland Limited now provides the Google services if you’re based in the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

How many Dutch Google users would have known that these terms changed if there wouldn’t have been a news item? They would have received an email or a pop-up from Google about this change, but who reads these? It is only about terms and conditions. Boring stuff and after last year we are still a bit tired of all the GDPR emails and pop-ups.

While it may not be perceived as a big deal for personal use by most of us, it raises an interesting question: if individuals do not take the time to validate these changes, even when highlighted in the national news, do they display different behavior when it is about changes published by the software they use in their work? While privately you might decide it is not worth your time, businesses that use the software maybe should see this differently. Reading terms and conditions isn’t a very appealing way to spend your time, but it’s important to understand the rights you have as a customer regarding the usage of software products and/or services. Not complying to these rights and restrictions can have commercial consequences.

Keeping track of the changes

It’s a mundane task to keep track of changes in terms and conditions for all the software that you use in your company, but is somebody doing it? It is not uncommon to use software from over 300 different software publishers and many more different software products (on premises, or SaaS solution). With the ever growing number of online terms of use, use rights, privacy terms etc. it is something that requires a well-designed process and cannot be left to the judgement of individual employees. Apart from the fact that such responsibility does not guarantee the changes are actually monitored, it is highly unlikely that each staff member knows what changes are acceptable and which expose a risk to the company.

On top of that, the software publishers use very generic language and sometimes even create the impression they are deliberately made hard to read and understand. To illustrate: the changes in Google’s Privacy Terms happened around the same time as Google got fined $57 million by privacy regulators in France for burying Privacy Terms where users won’t find them. While this example is about Google, there are probably many situations where customers use software products with license terms that are not 100% clear, that are very complex or that have changed without them knowing.

Keeping track of changes in the terms and conditions of the software (services) that you use is important. Using a specialist equipped with the right tools to do that can makes life easier. At B-lay we have invested in developing a solution that does just that. It will not only monitor all the changes in online conditions, but it will also judge the changes and decide if they are important enough to bring them to your attention and, when needed, help you understand them. This means that you or your staff don’t have to keep track of hundreds of important updates in the software publisher’s terms and conditions.

Do you want to find out more about our solution and how it can benefit your company? Contact us.

Roger has been working in the license management industry since 2018 when he joined B-lay. Before B-lay he worked in different roles at IBM for 14 years. Roger has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. He is an experienced specialist in IBM system Z mainframes, Enterprise Application Integration, Systems Management and Service Management. He also has experience in managing services projects in the role of engagement manager.

At B-lay Roger is working as an Information Manager and is part of the team that is developing applications that will help simplify customer’s license management.