What does the Tracker of Terms and Conditions do?

It monitors changes in the Terms of Use, Privacy Policies, Cookie Notices and many other legal texts known as terms and conditions.

What are the terms and conditions?

The legal texts that can only be Accepted or Rejected when you sign up on a service or shop online, for example. In any case, despite their importance, almost no one reads them.

Are they really important?

They regulate a significant part of the relationship between you and a social network, an online shop, a videogame, a task management tool or a search engine, among many other things. In fact, they can determine very different aspects of that connection. For starters, something as simple as how long your username can be. But they can also affect more important aspects such as your authority to promote your business. Or even worse, they affect fundamental rights such as free speech. Such things happen quite often.

Why would you track them?

Because although they should follow certain legal requirements, this is not always the case. To make matters even worse, they are everywhere, are terribly long, and change regularly and very frequently without notice. These are modifications that can affect the rights of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of millions of users and usually in the same way.

How does the Tracker of Terms and Conditions work?

Every 12 hours it tracks the legal texts shown on the header.

If it detects a variation from the last time, it shows the name of the service and the document that has changed, when the change was detected and what percentage of text was modified.

In addition, the service uses a traffic light mode to tell the users if the change has been notified or not. For that to happen, the "Last Update" or similar field from the terms and conditions must have been updated.

So the change can be:

Good: It means that an important change has been notified to the user by changing the "Last Update" field on the modified terms and conditions.

Bad: It means that an important change has not been notified to the user because the "Last Update" field was not updated or it does not even exist.

Normal: It means that a change has not been notified to the user, but taking into account its lack of importance, it is not tagged as "Bad".

At the same time, there is an special category that can be found when doing searches:

First: It means that the first version of the document has been added to the system. Therefore, from now on that document will be tracked.

What is an important change?

Any change that adds or deletes text from the terms and conditions, affecting in that way the rights and obligations of a user, even if slightly. Examples are: a change related to the registered office of a service, a new price, a different due date, a deleted communications channel or a new processed piece of data.

For example, a non-important change would be: the translation of a text from one language to another if the meaning is still the same. Another would be a typographical error or similar change.

What happens when the Tracker detects a change?

Once you click on the name of a change, you will be able to visualise a comparison from the last modification detected on that text, rather like a Before and After. The green colour shows the new text added, the red colour the deleted one.

The arrows pointing Up and Down let you navigate directly between changes. In addition, the “Just Changes” mode let you see only the lines that were changed.

Meanwhile, the arrow on the bottom right-hand side of the window lets you share the change on social media.

What version of the terms and conditions is monitored?

If they are available in Spanish, that version. Otherwise, the available one, that will usually be in English.

In any case, the Spanish version does not usually differ too much or even at all from the original one, normally in English. Therefore any changes can be a useful reference too.