Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Shayo, Conrad


This cumulative project will explore the personal risks involved when a user agrees to an online service’s Terms of Service (TOS) Agreement contract, especially when a user checks the “I Agree” box on an online service’s TOS. The key questions were: (1) What are the personal risks involved when a user clicks on the “I Agree” box on an online service TOS Agreement? (2) How are these risks co-related? and (3) How can end users mitigate risks after they have agreed to the TOS? To answer the questions, various TOS agreements were reviewed, and a poll was conducted asking a small sample of students and IT professionals if they read the TOS terms of their online social networks. Additionally, to answer how a user can mitigate risks after they have agreed to terms, a test was made over a five-month period pertaining to web browser tracking. Research suggests that there is a lack of transparency pertaining to data protection, user tracking, data ownership and data sharing on the online services' behalf. The conclusion is that people can mitigate those risks by doing the following: (a) reading the TOS Agreement prior to giving their consent and agreeing to the TOS, (b) limit the data that is shared, (c) opt-out of data tracking if possible. Areas for further research include a comparative study on tracking prevention among various web browsers, and a behavioral study to examine why users choose to ignore the TOS agreements.