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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Various experts encourage consumers not to be passive about the ubiquitous terms of service that digital companies require you to agree to when you sign up. The filmmaker wants audiences to know their rights as digital consumers -- and the way that companies change their terms of service to benefit them and share users' personal data.
Positive Role Models
Privacy experts and the ACLU make viewers aware that "free" membership and use aren't so free at all. Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg comes off like a hypocrite who asks for the documentarian to stop recording him but has no problem using Facebook to mine data about its users.
Violence & Scariness
A man describes how he was refused entry into the United States, questioned for hours, and pushed around by the authorities because of a tweet.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Quick shots of provocative tweets and Facebook status updates about one-night stands, threesomes, hooking up, and other "TMI" topics.
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Strong language isn't said but is shown in screen grabs, including "f--k," "s--t," and more.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the interviewees (a hacker) holds an unlit cigarette but doesn't smoke it.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Terms and Conditions May Apply is an eye-opening documentary about the way that various online companies -- be they e-commerce sites, Internet service providers, search engines, or social media networks -- collect, store, and share their users' personal information, thanks to those long and usually unread terms of service agreements. There's occasional racy content and strong language (in text) shown on the screen, as well as blurry photos of people on Facebook or Twitter, but otherwise, this is an informative (and frightening!) documentary about consumers' digital footprints and how your every keystroke could one day be used against you. It's great family viewing for parents and tweens/teens who want to be safe, smart digital citizens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate