Did You Read the Fine Print on Microsoft's Age-Guessing Tool?

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If you are one of the millions of people who tried out Microsoft's viral Age-Guessing tool How-Old.net, we have some bad news for you. The fine print contains some language you might not be too thrilled about.

...[B]y posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.

OK, now that we're fully freaking out. What does it all mean? In theory, the company (and its suppliers) could use your photos on their website, in advertising AND basically use it in any way that they want. You agreed to it. We all agreed to it.

Why do we say "in theory"? Because there is some good news. And even if you didn't read the fine print, you should definitely read this before you get mad and feel like you got duped into providing your free photo for the company to use.

After the How-Old.net terms (same as Microsoft's Azure) started making the rounds on the internet (not that they weren't there all along), a Microsoft spokesperson reached out to Fast Company, who originally broke the bad news to us, and said this:

We wanted to let you know that http://how-old.net does not store or share pictures or personally identifiable information (PII). The Terms of Service are accurate and like those of other companies. Developers get to choose how their apps work. The developers of How-old.net chose not to store or share photos for this app.

There is also a new message under the "Use Your Own Photo" button that says "P.S. We don't keep the photo."

Whew! HUGE sigh of relief. We all got lucky with that one. Still, there is a lesson to be learned here. Always Read the Fine Print!
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