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Parents' Guide to

Terms and Conditions May Apply

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Important docu about how digital companies use private data.

Movie NR 2013 79 minutes
Terms and Conditions May Apply Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+

This title has:

Great role models
age 10+

Beware...Personal, private information is NOT private

We stay away from most of social media offerings, but apparently that doesn't matter. It is scary how companies "mine" personal data from everyone and how it is used...and not to our advantage. We are living in a new world, and the new world order is more advanced than most of can imagine.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

A documentary about terms and conditions may sound as boring as the overlong, tiny-font policies it explores, but Terms and Conditions May Apply is actually a fascinating film. It should be required viewing for everyone -- or at least anyone who has ever (or will ever) used their computer to stream a video, join a social network, buy absolutely anything, or even send an email. Without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, Hoback explains how easy it is for companies to monitor pretty much everything you do online, thanks to cookies, service agreements, and users eager to share personal information without realizing how it might affect them.

Clips from the movie Minority Report and shows like South Park (when Kyle ends up in a "Humancentipad" because he didn't read the iTunes terms and conditions update) and Parks and Recreation (when April has to explain what "cookies" are to Ron) illustrate how dangerous it is to be ignorant about what we agree to online. Companies and the government are using and monitoring personal data in ways that could shock you: A middle schooler is considered a threat to the president for expressing concern over Obama's safety after Osama bin Laden's capture; a young tourist is refused entry to the United States because of a colloquial tweet about his plan to "destroy" America (as in, with his partying); a screenwriter could be considered a murderer for searching for "ways to kill your wife" for work. Watch this with your tweens and teens and discuss how to best protect your own privacy.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 12, 2013
  • On DVD or streaming: February 17, 2015
  • Director: Cullen Hoback
  • Studio: Variance Films
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 79 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

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