Smells like court

I think Dropbox is awesome and wish that company every success (don't sell us users out!).

But there is a tradition on this blog of watching Dropbox's missteps with attempts to update its terms of service.

CaptureThis time it's a phrasing thing, which I take to be indicative of a low-grade, possibly tech industry-shared, fashionable disdain for the court system.

The phrasing I'm calling out is in a Dropbox email to users explaining why the company's terms of service are being changed to default to arbitration, rather than adjudication in courts, to resolve disputes:

"We’re adding an arbitration section to our updated Terms of Service. Arbitration is a quick and efficient way to resolve disputes, and it provides an alternative to things like state or federal courts where the process could take months or even years. If you don’t want to agree to arbitration, you can easily opt out via an online form, within 30-days of these Terms becoming effective. This form, and other details, are available on our blog."

"Things like courts." Pesky, bothersome, unattractive things like taxpayer-funded, independent tribunals to adjudicate prosecutions, commercial disputes, family matters. Slow, inefficient, deliberate. Many of the same drawbacks as representative democracy itself!

And jurors!

Heaven forbid that users of popular apps should sit in and pass judgment on what terms of service Silicon Valley imposes!

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