The relatively new genre of legalese called the EULA or End-User Licensing Agreement is as ubiquitous as it is unread. While the EULA for iTunes is a relatively small 1,974 words, the EULA for PayPal is currently 27,435 words in length. There are new online services being made available by large and small corporations every day, and nearly all of them require you to “agree to the terms of service” by clicking a button or checking a box. Many users tend to assume that we are forgoing some portion of our online personal privacy in exchange for a service. This latest incarnation of Franco Moretti’s “great unread” represents an opportunity to offer a text analysis tool using many of the techniques and methods used by the digital humanities. The EULA Tool will provide reports on licenses and flag potentially risky terms of service. You will then be able to drill into the EULA to read offending passages and make more informed decisions about the tools and services you use online.
The EULA Tool is in the development stages and a working prototype will made available by the winter of 2016. Follow our progress on this site or on Twitter @dhpsu.