Authored Articles & Publications Jun 4, 2018

Op-Ed: Informed Consent vs. Informed Risk

Automated Vehicle Terms of Use Issues Explored by BB&K Attorney Gregory Rodriguez in Eno Transportation Weekly


By Gregory Rodriguez
Recent events, including the testimony of Facebook’s CEO on Capitol Hill discussing how consumer provided data is used for profit, the significant disruption to City of Atlanta services from a ransomware attack currently estimated to have economic impacts of near $3 million, and the first known fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, demonstrate the fascinating and eye-opening time we are living in, particularly when it comes to the continued integration of technology into our lives.
New innovations are quickly making their way into every aspect of our being (and commute) – from personal digital assistants like “Alexa” and “Siri,” to apps that bring services literally to our fingertips, to the ongoing deployment of self-driving vehicles. With the benefits, most tangibly in the form of convenience, that come from new technologies being rolled out what seems like daily, also come risks that are often little understood, or more accurately ignored.
When using technology, it appears ignorance is indeed bliss. One of the reasons is the infamous “Terms of Use.” Not only is length a deterrent to reading such terms—cutting and pasting the Terms of Use for Uber creates 12 pages of stimulating legalese with LimeBike creating 16 pages, plus separate terms governing privacy and use of our data as riders—but knowing that you have little (or more realistically no) negotiating power provides little incentive to better understand what you are agreeing to by just quickly clicking “accept” for access to apps like Facebook or Twitter that let you communicate with millions of people rather effortlessly or Lyft and Uber that provide on-demand mobility.
Read the full guest opinion-editorial column, originally published May 14, 2018 on Eno Transportation Weekly, by clicking here.

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