You may have lost your right to sue Equifax by using its fraud protection

An estimated 143 million U.S. consumers could be affected by a cybersecurity attack carried out against Equifax, one of the nation's three largest credit-reporting companies.

For those of you skeptical about entering your information into the Equifax data breach website, we salute you. By entering the last six digits of your social security number and your last name to find out if you're at risk, it's possible that you're bound by the website's terms of use.

The terms of use include provision number four in bold, capital letters:

AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.

Essentially, this means that you could be waiving your right to participate in a class action lawsuit about the data breach. However, Equifax added an opt-out provision that requires you to find a pen and paper and a postage stamp. Within 30 days, you can write a letter opting out of the arbitration requirement. Oddly enough, this section is not in bold and capital letters.

"Just because things are in bold or capitalized doesn't mean it's any more or less important to what they have decided to try to draw your attention to," said Metropolitan State University Professor Dr. Steve Beaty.

Right to Opt-Out of this Arbitration Provision. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE BOUND BY THE ARBITRATION PROVISION, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXCLUDE YOURSELF.Opting out of the arbitration provision will have no adverse effect on your relationship with Equifax or the delivery of Products to You by Equifax. In order to exclude Yourself from the arbitration provision, You must notify Equifax in writing within 30 days of the date that You first accept this Agreement on the Site (for Products purchased from Equifax on the Site). If You purchased Your Product other than on the Site, and thus this Agreement was mailed, emailed or otherwise delivered to You, then You must notify Equifax in writing within 30 days of the date that You receive this Agreement. To be effective, timely written notice of opt out must be delivered to Equifax Consumer Services LLC, Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out, P.O. Box 105496, Atlanta, GA 30348, and must include Your name, address, and Equifax User ID, as well as a clear statement that You do not wish to resolve disputes with Equifax through arbitration. If You have previously notified Equifax that You wish to opt-out of arbitration, You are not required to do so again. Any opt-out request postmarked after the opt-out deadline or that fails to satisfy the other requirements above will not be valid, and You must pursue your Claim in arbitration or small claims court.

Equifax is also offering credit monitoring through TrustedID, an Equifax company.

TrustedID also has its own terms of use, and wouldn't you know it, those were updated on Wednesday, one day BEFORE Equifax announced the data breach that the company discovered on July 29.

Next found a cached version of the TrustedID terms of use as they existed on June 25, before Equifax knew about the data breach. The word "arbitration" appears three times in the terms of use from June 25. The new terms of use updated as of Wednesday, include 27 references to "arbitration."

"It's nine times more popular, now," said Beaty. "They knew there was going to be a number of legal action against them, and so they wanted to, probably, tighten up their liability."

RELATED: How personal information of minors could be compromised in the Equifax breach

An email to Equifax media relations asking why the terms of use were changed to include more references to "arbitration," one day before the announcement of the breach, was not replied to as of Friday night.

Next also checked the Apple iPhone and Facebook terms of uses.

If you want to use your iPhone at all, you are required to agree to the terms of use. One provision is related to the phone's "maps" program.

"When you use any location-based features within Maps, such as turn-by-turn navigation, traffic and local search, various location-related and usage information may be sent to Apple, including the real-time geographic location of your iOS Device…"

"They're following us and they're following us, I think, for a specific purpose, in general, and that's to send us advertising," said Beaty. "What we have passed. Where we have stopped. Those sorts of things; advertisements for those specific locations can be sent to us."

Facebook terms of use say "You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user," yet the trolls remain.
You also give Facebook permission to use your name and picture to be used in advertisements that Facebook gets paid for, but you don't.

You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), you represent that a parent or legal guardian also agrees to this section on your behalf.

"Facebook is free to, essentially, put your face next to a Starbucks symbol and say, 'I like Starbucks,' without any compensation to you," said Beaty. "I will say most corporations, including Facebook, have simplified their terms of service recently, because they used to go much longer and be much more full of legalese and be even more difficult to understand."

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