MagicJack's EULA says it will spy on you and force you into arbitration

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MagicJack, a cheapie $20-a-year internet phone service, comes with a shriveled and shaking devil EULA.

"You also understand and agree that use of the magicJack device and Software will include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for the magicJack device to work ... Our computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads"

...

Any claims, legal proceeding or litigation arising in connection with the magicJack device or Software will be resolved by binding arbitration ... in Palm Beach, Florida."

Oh God, not Palm Beach!

In short, it not only has one agree to ads with its paid-for system, but claims that the ads are necessary for it to work. It will also snoop on your calls to target ads more accurately, and has you sign away your legal right to take it to court if it defrauds or otherwise harms you. Delightful.

Neither the EULA itself, nor any other privacy or legal information, can be easily found at its homepage. It's not even provided at the point of sale, where one enters credit card info, email and street addresses as such, so as to gain access to the service and have your MagicJack dongle delivered. I found the EULA's URL through Google.

It gets sexier. When you access MajicJack's instant web help page, a bizarre series of "compatibility tests" take place first, reporting lies like "Your MagicJack is functioning properly" even if you don't have one installed.

Even the "look how many people came for a free trial" counter on the homepage is a fake, a javascript applet that increments itself automatically:

// the interval (ms) between new visitors
var interval = Math.round(86400000/perday);

As if targeted advertising, systematic privacy invasion and the signing away of your legal rights wasn't evil enough!

Update: Commenter Skochkar points out that they've changed the counter, which now runs server-side.

[Thanks, Joseph!]

About Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.
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