Have you ever started typing a text to someone in the heat of the moment when you’re filled with rage over an issue and you go on a full-blown rant? Then just before you hit send, you get a glimpse of sanity or at least the possible repercussions of sending that message; so in that moment, you simply decide to delete what you’ve typed, or reluctantly tone down your choice of words, to lessen the effect?
Most of us have had this happen to us one too many times. Your boss, your partner, your mum or best friend may have upset you and though you typed that angry message, that you decided not to send it.
Well, have you ever heard of IMO? It’s an application (app). Basically, it’s an audio and visual call app. It’s great because it uses less data than other similar apps and the connection is really clear too. Plus you can text on it. My only problem with IMO is this: as you’re typing your message, AND BEFORE YOU’VE ACTUALLY HIT THE SEND BUTTON, the intended recipient of the message sees everything you’re typing.
So every typo, every instant autocorrect, every letter or word deleted is seen by the intended recipient before the message is actually sent. It’s basically like the intended recipient is standing over your shoulder as you type the message and they see everything before you actually send it.
Then it hit me! This is beyond awful! The person literally watches your entire thought process before you send the message. A friend of mine typed “event” and later deleted that word and wrote “programme” and sent it to me. My first thought was to ask him why he chose that particular word instead of the other, but I held my tongue and didn’t let the conversation go in that direction. Ultimately what he wanted me to see was “programme” not “event”, so why should I have even seen “event” in the first place. What if it had been an obscene word he had typed and later thought better of it?
Don’t worry; my aim is to link this message to the law someway, somehow. My problem with apps and most computer software programmes is that you can never update them without accepting the sometimes-onerous terms and conditions that have been stated. Terms and conditions you can never negotiate on because then you would never be prohibited from updating the app should you refuse to accept. Terms and conditions that no one will ever read because no one can ever have them amended or because they are ridiculously long. You can scroll… and scroll and still not get the import of the never-ending words. Unsurprisingly, I am forced to agree on terms I would rather not agree on, just so that I can use this “nifty” app. The truth, however, is I am bound by the terms of the app because I agreed to be bound, who therefore am I to complain. (Sigh)
There are however a number of laws on electronic transmission of mail, electronic signatures, when an electronic contract is deemed to come into effect, etc. So when is an electronic contract actually deemed to come into effect? With a number of electronic agreements, it is when you click the “submit” or “send” button when you are done reading the form. Should this not apply to IMO too? That IMO should not make my intended message visible to the intended recipient until I have hit, “send”? Is that not part of the terms and conditions with IMO? I have not given the final approval for the message to be sent, so why should it be sent? It should remain a draft! As though it were in my email as a draft, collecting dust, until one day, I decide to send it. In the absence of that, the recipient should have no clue of the contents of my text. So has Imo breached any privacy laws? Or did I unknowingly waive any rights I may have had when agreeing to their terms and conditions, in that small fine print, and thus have no cause of action? I am just thinking out loud. Or should I just be quiet and press the send button already?