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Movie Review: Terms and Conditions May Apply

August 2, 2013

Terms and Conditions May Apply PosterTerms and Conditions May Apply – A KinoSmith Release

Release Date: August 2nd, 2013 @ Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Rated PG for language

Running time: 79 minutes

Cullen Hoback (dir.)

Cullen Hoback (writer)

John Askew (music)

Cullen Hoback as Himself

Max Schrems as Himself

Leigh Bryan as Himself

Joe Lipari as Himself

Amy Cutler as Herself

Chris Knight as Himself

Moby as Himself

Margarat Atwood as Herself

Mark Zuckerberg as Himself

Terms and Conditions May Apply

©KinoSmith.  All Rights Reserved.

Director Cullen Hoback and Austrian law student Max Schrems in Terms and Conditions May Apply.

Our reviews below:


Terms and Conditions May Apply Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The title of Terms and Conditions May Apply is a warning that we have all seen multiple times on the websites we visit, but director Cullen Hoback uses them to take a critical look at what these seemingly simple words really mean.  Hidden within the fine print lies an agreement that many sites have to share personal information with third parties, including invasive advertisers and the FBI.  Facebook and Google are some of the biggest offenders, but the flipside to having this much information readily available is that the government can use it to divert potentially dangerous situations, something that many condemn under the rights of free speech.

Perhaps one of the bigger questions we should be asking is how do we know who to trust in a world where we know practically everything?  Does it actually become harder to interact with people, when so many personal details are openly shared through impulsive updates on social networking sites?  There are some advantages to having these databases of personal information at our fingertips, but there also comes a point when too much data is being made readily available.  The question of whether privacy is really dead comes up a lot throughout Terms and Conditions May Apply, and the film plays as a warning about the importance of thinking twice before posting anything on the internet.

The interviews are nicely edited together into a fairly entertaining package, and Terms and Conditions May Apply is an interesting exposé about the meaning of privacy in an age of information where everything is openly shared.


Terms and Conditions May Apply Review by Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

In the digital age, we have become accustomed to and comfortable with sharing endless facets of our lives on the internet.  We post photos, text, comments, opinions…  And all of this information remains connected to us, through our Facebook pages, Google searches, and web histories, all kept in giant data facilities with the ability to be retrieved at a moments notice should someone (say a government official or future employer) want it.

What this film does make you think about, is what you are revealing about yourself each and every time you log online.  But the world isn’t going to stop Googling just because the search terms they create are perpetually connected to them.  And so runs a multimillion dollar business of information collected that we (just by agreeing to use their service) have consented to.

By writing and uploading this review, this opinion of mine is now on the internet, and even if I deleted the post, it is still theoretically out there somewhere.  And by reading this review, you consent to the fact that data may be collected by the service you are reading it on.  Whatever search terms you used to find it?  Those are connected to you too.

Granted, the information can be used to benefit certain purposes, provided its use is regulated.  Terms and Conditions May Apply is an interesting look at how the internet-age has changed our world and the privacy we have in it.  It’s worth checking out for all those who go online.


Terms and Conditions May Apply Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Terms and Conditions May Apply is a fascinating documentary about the shocking amount of personal information any corporation or government agency can obtain off the internet.  The film begins with a funny animated trip to the doctor, first in the real world, and then in the digital world.

Through interviews with lawyers, business people and even an appearance by Mark Zuckerberg himself, we find out just how much information gets stored and shared.  Companies can find out all kinds of dirt on people, just by tracking the websites they have visited, as well as looking at emails.  What is even more disturbing is the fact that the FBI can troll anybody’s email, Twitter, Facebook page and Google searches, and then question them.  Since the surveillance is digital, the context of these searches is not discovered until the “suspect” is captured, cuffed and questioned.  Victims of this unethical surveillance have included children, crime writers, tourists and peaceful protestors.

What makes this documentary so appealing is that it takes a serious human rights issue and presents it in a fun, quick moving and entertaining way through animation and a light tone.  Reminiscent of Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, this film is fun.  Terms and Conditions May Apply is an important documentary that everyone should see.


Terms and Conditions May Apply Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

It seems like we all do it.  When the question “do you accept the terms and conditions?” shows up on our computer screens, we without giving it another thought, click “accept.”  According to director Cullen Hoback’s entertaining documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply, that quick click of a key makes us all vulnerable to a further invasion of our private identity.

Told through some amusing animation in the opening and numerous interviews with both individuals concerned with privacy rights and people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who create privacy parameters, the documentary holds the viewers attention long enough to ask themselves, “what did I just accept?”  Director Cullen Hoback gets us to realize that as much as we love Google, Facebook and Amazon, the CIA, NSA, FBI and also advertisers everywhere love them even more for the wealth of information we willingly provide through those venues.

Terms and Conditions May Apply is a real eye opener.  The scene where Mark Zuckerberg is unknowingly filmed says it all.  This is a documentary worth seeing for anyone with an interest in privacy rights and even more so for the majority of us who never really gave the issue much thought.


Terms and Conditions May Apply Review by Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Terms and Conditions May Apply exposes the implications of user agreements in fine print legalese that must be accepted before enrolment in internet sites. Admittedly almost no one reads these agreements before accepting them, and for the most part they are benign.

At best, sites cooperating with other corporations for data mining can make ads and promotions more relevant to a given client. However, since 9/11 governments have taken an increasing interest in all this information that they can access without the restrictions governing direct surveillance, making it relatively easy for law enforcement to find the source of any activity deemed subversive. As some unfortunate examples show, the use of careless online language can swiftly lead to the same consequences as audibly musing about bombs at an airport.

Though the film can be overwhelming at times as it systematically analyzes agreement clauses that have increasingly eroded personal privacy, the use of satirical retro animation clips and familiar fonts and screenshots provide a nice counterpoint to interview clips with everyone you would expect to hear from on this subject and more.


Consensus: Director Cullen Hoback takes a critical look at privacy in the digital age in the entertaining documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply, a well edited mix of interviews that leaves the audience with a lot to think about.  ***1/4 (Out of 4)

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