“Help!” I am stuck in a factory of terms and conditions. Please accept the terms and conditions for my release. “
This disclaimer from hell is just one of the 29 waiting for you in “Terms and Conditions Apply”, A new project destined to gamify u frustrating experience to try to opt-out of tracking and targeting advertising across the web. It’s the idea of The Guardian and technologist Jonathan Plackett, that he said he conceived of the game as a way to “expose some of the dark patterns” that websites regularly use when they trick us into giving up our personal data.
At least on the face of it, the goal of the game is pretty simple: there’s a blind-eyed villain named EVIL CORP who will pull every trick in the book (and then some) to get you to agree to give up your numerical data. Your job is to say no to any notification notice, refuse any cookies the Corp. tries to abandon you, and rejects all terms of service agreements that are thrown in your way.
Needless to say, it gets really hard, really fast. When Evil Corp. ask if you agree to the terms and conditions, suddenly the “no” button is written in Klingon, or you are buried under a pile of confusing drop-down menus. Some of the questions present “yes” and “no” flip that flip-flop every time you try to click on them. Alex Bellos – The resident puzzle maker of The Guardian which he associated with Plackett on the project — actually posted and solution for three of these prompts if you want a taste for how difficult some of them are.
While most of these questions may be over, there are a few that don’t even exaggerate just the fate dark patterns that sites are taken using more and more. Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation partnered with a host of other technology advocates and policy researchers to spread the word. first tip line where people can point out these types of shady tactics while they are spotted on the web. Hopefully the ones that are reported are a little less misleading than the ones that Plackett invented.