Reading the ‘small print’ online – what you are agreeing to when accepting Terms and Conditions when registering on a new website

Many websites that contain professionally edited content ask users to sign up as a registered user, either in order to be able to submit comments, or to be able to read further. In such cases one is usually only shown headlines, or introductory paragraphs prior to registration.

Such registration processes are usually used to capture certain personal information about you, communicate certain legal information (eg, terms and conditions, terms of service, terms of sale, privacy policy, etc. – hereafter “terms”) to you and protect the website owner, in particular through use of ‘indemnity’ clauses (passing financial risk from any third party claims against the website owner to the user).

It seems to me that such terms are often positioned in a way that it is very easy to check a box to say that you ‘agree to’ them, or have ‘read and understood’ them even when you might not have done (for example, in your enthusiam to get to the activties the site offers only to registered users), thereby potentially leading to a future unmanaged risk.

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Glimmers of hope? Thoughts on the shape and feel of economic recovery

Recent news articles have stated that Germany and France have formally/statisticly exited recession (such as the BBC, on 13 August 2009 “France and Germany exit recession“). During the first half of 2009 equity market swings caused talk of ‘green shoots’ and whether they might be sustainable (Martin Wolf, Financial Times ft.com/economistsforum). Talk of ‘green shoots’ has now been replaced by discussion of economic growth, albeit most projections showing it to be relatively small in the near-term.

For the last 18 months many people have talked about turnaround/recovery possibly occurring in 2010.  As we near 2009 year-end there is clearly hope, and some cautious optimism in the market that this might hold true, even if most seem to agree that there is still a lot of hard work to come and the pace of recovery might be slow (for example, the UK Treasury recently announced, here, that independent forecasts for FY10 have UK GDP growth at an average of 1.4%).

Market commentators are now talking about ‘the shape of the recovery‘, and using terms like ‘the new normal‘ to discuss how a looming economic recovery might present itself.  Can we have confidence that things are changing for the better?

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