CC-inspired projects for Terms of Service and Privacy policies

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Over the years, several projects have started with the intention of doing for Terms of Services and/or Privacy policies what Creative Commons has done for Copyright notices. Most of these projects have been abandoned after a while, but some are still alive.

Please add to the list if you have relevant information!

Privacy Simplified

"Privacy Simplified was created by a group of students from David way berkley jr. Control, Privacy, and Technology course at Yale University (Computer Science 185). This is our final project." Last known activity: 02/10/2013


Initially focusing on Terms of Service rather than Privacy Policies. Analyzed ToS documents to find common terms, and working on a proposal for a standardized format for previewing TOS documents and Privacy Policies in one screen, using standardized term formulations and standardized ordering and layout for the presentation. Financially supported by the Swedish Internet fund and run by Pär Lannerö, who also created this CC-wiki page. Last known activity: February 2013.

CommonTerms is seeking cooperation with all others who are trying to fight the "Biggest lie on the internet" (which is of course "Yes I have read and agree to the terms and conditions"). CommonTerms also started the campaign site


Crowdsourced ratings of website TOS/PP. Crowd funding campaign successful September 2012.

Privacy commons

Draft icons by Aaron Helton described for example who owns User Generated Content: User, provider company or shared ownership. Last known activity: February 2009

Privacy Icons

Started by Aza Raskin while he was working for Mozilla, this project has done a great job drafting icons to describe a select set of privacy parameters. Being a Mozilla project, there's a chance that the icons may be presented in a dedicated browser panel rather than on a webpage somewhere on a website. Last known activity: December 2010.

Khula project

Started september 2011 by Tyler Baird. Producing easy-to-read hand-made Privacy Policies. Clear and nice graphics.

Know privacy

Report from a project by students at the UC Berkely School of Information in 2009. Drafted icons describing how user's data is being collected and shared.


Matthias Mehldau created a large set of icons answering the questions "What data is collected", "How is my data handled", "For what purpose" and "For how long". Last known activity: 2007

European privacy open space

EU project proposed the idea of cc-like icons but no icons as far as I know. Last known activity: 2009


Proposed a rather extensive set of icons to summarize common terms found in End User License Agreements (EULAs). Last known activity: 2006

Privacy labels

Research by the CUPS group at Carnegie Mellon University. Did not produce icons, but proposed and evaluated a standardized table format for the presentation of privacy information. Their research papers provide many valuable insights. Last known activity: 2010

Internet Governance Forum

In 2006, Mary Rundle from Harvard University gave a presentation at the IGF meeting, proposing a small set of draft icons to symbolize how user data might be treated by online service providers.

Youluh Service

A project hoping to be successfully crowd-funded, the Youluh service will provide an app by which users can upload any EULA or ToS or other contract to the service, where it becomes part of the user's private document library. At the same time, the service breaks down the agreement into constituent parts and applies similarity search across all the agreements in the server, and returns a report card containing a variety of statistical information. The purpose of the statistical information is to help the user decide what, if anything, he or she needs to read in the agreement. The report card will include such things as: parts of the agreement that are found in other agreements already accepted by this user, parts that are found in agreements accepted by many others on the service, parts that are entirely new, and parts for which other users have added comments.

Disconnect Me

The Privacy Icons project, which allows users to easily understand the terms they are subject to.

Other related projects and initiatives


Commercially provides a certification for websites whose Privacy policies adhere to some basic quality requirements defined by Truste


Italian company offering a simple tool to create easy-to-understand Terms of Service documents. Last known activity: December 2011


Among many other privacy related tools and services, PrivacyChoice offers a tool - Policymaker - which can be used to easily generate an accessible privacy policy for mobile applications. Founded by Jim Brock. Last known activity: December 2011


EFF project tracking changes to TOS documents for popular online services.

I agree to

Re-design of Apple iTunes Terms of Service by Gregg Bernstein, providing great inspiration for anybody trying to simplify and make online contracts more accessible. Last known activity: September 2011.


Proposal by Tom Scott to provide CC-licensed boilerplate Terms of Service documents (and other contracts). Last known activity: 2009

Lex publica

Company intending to adopt the OSS model to legal documents: provide the legal code (CC licensed contract document templates) for free but selling consulting. Last known activity: January 2010.