Electronic Contracts and the Illusion of Consent

Q: What do you do when you see a little button on a webpage or app screen that says I agree?

A: Click the button.

The familiar and incredibly simple click-to-agree mechanism is ubiquitous. We encounter it throughout our digital lives. It is nothing less than the “legal backbone” of the internet, app stores, e-commerce and so much more.

Yet electronic contracting and the illusion of consent-by-clicking are a sham.

You've Been Sued In The E.U. For Copying A "Short Extract"!

You are CEO of Google. When you wake up tomorrow morning, your general counsel calls you: "we've been sued in the E.U. for copyright infringement! The claim: our search results for Le Parisien and dozens of other newspapers used more than one word and/or beyond a 'short extract.'" Your response: "is this April Fools’ day?"

Submission Regarding the Draft IT Intermediaries Guidelines Proposed in India

The present submission has the object of providing comments and recommendations regarding a very specific provision included in the document mentioned in the title, that is the specific proposed duty for intermediaries to:

“deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content.”

Online Speech Rights and the Supreme Court's Pending Halleck Case

I have a new article coming out, called Who Do You Sue? State and Platform Hybrid Power over Online Speech. It is about free expression rights on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, which the Supreme Court has called “the modern public square.” One section is about speakers suing platforms. It looks at cases – over thirty so far – where users argue that companies like Facebook or Twitter have violated their free expression rights by taking down legal speech that is prohibited under the platforms’ Community Guidelines.

Tool Without A Handle: A Mere Gallimaufry

Tool Without A Handle: “A Mere Gallimaufry”

This blog has spent a good deal of real estate discussing networked information technologies as tools, but has not yet dealt thoroughly with the qualifier in its title: tools “without handles.” The addition of “without a handle” is intended to indicate that my primary metaphor of a tool in the control of a user - and thus my general preferred approach to Internet policy and regulation, favoring individual control and accountability for uses of tools – needs to be leavened a bit.

Court Recommends Denying the Public Access to Its Sealed Surveillance Docket

In September 2016, my colleague Jennifer Granick (now at the ACLU) and I filed a petition in the federal district court for the Northern District of California that sought to unseal years' worth of sealed surveillance matters filed in that court. It is well-established that the public and the press have First Amendment and common-law rights to access court records.


Subscribe to Stanford CIS Blog