Dropbox, the popular online storage service, has begun circulating a new terms of service (ToS) agreement that wants to remove our ability to sue or join in class-action lawsuits against them and instead agree to arbitration using an arbiter of their choosing. Here's how the Dropbox blog phrases it:
Arbitration. We’re adding arbitration clauses to our Terms of Service and Dropbox for Business online agreement. Arbitration is a faster and more efficient way to resolve legal disputes, and it provides a good alternative to things like state or federal courts, where the process could take months or even years. If you prefer to opt out of arbitration in the Terms of Service, there’s no need to fax us or trek to the post office — just fill out this quick online form.
Tiffany Baxendell Bridge of Quibbling has already elaborated on the reasons why opting-out is likely in your best interests. I'll add mine here — Dropbox houses much of my documents directory. That's most of my work, personal and professional. There's a trust relationship there that I feel is best served by them having the legal equivalent of the Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads. If my privacy is violated, if my data is misused or abused, if my stuff is in any way compromised, I'd just as soon have every measure under the law available to me should I need to seek redress. None of which is served by pushing me into an arbitration process wholly under their control.
So, I'm glad Dropbox is providing an easy online opt-out mechanism and I've already taken advantage of it. It's only good for 30-days from date of notification, however, so I urge you to read the new Dropbox ToS — which also includes new language on permissions, new privacy clarifications, unification of Mailbox ToS, and new ToS for Dropbox for Business as well.
After informing yourself, if you want to take advantage of Dropbox's arbitration opt-out, hurry up and go here, and then let me know what choice you made and why!