Saturday, May 12, 2018

Beware of Legalese

This is not a sob story.  This is an appeal.  I'm appealing to you to speak up.  You've probably received several notices from websites that tell you the "Terms of Service" and/or "Privacy Policy" has been updated to reflect recent changes, such as the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union.  What we need to speak up about is something that most people don't know about, so I'm going to tell you.  This is a copy of the text I sent to LocalBitcoins, and I'm inviting you, beseeching you, and imploring you to send it along to any outfits that tell you they are updating their policies.
An important legal concept is that a law which defines a term causes that term to be completely stripped of its common meaning wherever in that law the definition declares that the definition applies.  Can you clarify where you use terms as defined in a law (and provide a reference to that law)?  The language could be as simple as:

   - Language of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service
LocalBitcoins recognizes that the legal jurisdictions of our members may have laws that define certain terms.  Except where indicated, the language used in these Terms of Service and in our Privacy Policy uses only the common understanding of these terms.  A URL and the specific legal terms defined there have been provided where appropriate so that you can look up the definitions.

Specifically regarding the GDPR, a handy URL in this effort is 

I received this lovely response from LocalBitcoins, and I'd love to hear if any of you get something similar.
Hi David,

thank you for the feedback!

I will pass the suggestion to our legal department and hopefully, we will be adding it when doing next update to the TOS.
Lawyers constitute the "Ruling Class" of our planet now, which is why I'm taking the LSAT in June and planning to join that class.

From an evolutionary perspective, I'm already in the ruling class because A) I take responsibility for my own life and B) people see value in my thoughts and incorporate them into their own lives.  The law degree I seek will simply create a paper credential that I can use to help people who rely on such things (sadly, a very large portion of our species).  While I don't have the paper, my thoughts are easy for them to dismiss, and so they lose out on the benefits I offer.  This blog entry is being sent out to people who have joined my mailing list too, and you can check that out at and/or read over the archives at

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