My Robot Ordered the VoD Pr0n, Honest

My current lifetime goal is to create and have a houseful of robot minions and friends, much like Sebastian in Blade Runner, but would I trust them with my credit cards? Not likely. However, lest we forget, we’re already kind of trusting a lot of robots these days with things like our credit card information and sometimes even our rights. No, really. Check this article by Mark Rasch at Security Focus:

Automated tools — including automated replies, spiders, crawlers, and browsers — may enter into contracts on our behalf, but without our knowledge.
That’s a problem, when, in the ordinary course of browsing the Web or engaging in other electronic transactions, a person may enter as many as between 50 and 100 contracts a day. These include the terms of service (TOS) for your ISP, search engine, and browser, terms of use for a Web site, the privacy policies posted on the Web sites, copyright agreements or notices, trademark agreements or notices, warranties or disclaimers of warranty, and of course, the terms of software end user license agreements or EULAs. These agreements may include conditions on what you may or may not do on the site, an agreement to arbitrate disputes, an agreement to abide by and sue under the law of a particular jurisdiction, a granting of a license to use your information, and agreements not to use the information to which you are granted access in particular ways. In addition, an entity can condition your “access” to their Web site based upon your agreement to their terms and conditions — failing to abide by their terms and conditions results not only in potential “breach of contract” liability, but also in liability for trespass, unauthorized access to a computer, or the civil tort of “trespass to chattels.”
The situation begs the question: Are such contracts binding and if so, binding on whom?


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