Signing a contract is a considered a serious endeavour for most of us. Putting one's name to a written agreement between two parties is something we are supposed to approach with a certain amount of concentration, and maybe even a little solemnity.
After all, we are taught to read the fine print carefully before signing anything because contracts are legally binding.
Yet, with advent of the digital age, most of us sign contracts several times a day without really thinking much about it. When we buy something online, visit a website, register a child for gym class, rent a power-tool, or go on a vacation, we click on "I agree" to that incomprehensible text titled "terms and conditions".
We digitally accept these annoying terms to get a service or product, but little do we understand that it's like signing a contract, and to get out of it would be a big headache.
These terms are called "boilerplate". American legal scholar Margaret Jane Radin is the author of a new book about how - beyond being annoying - they actually threaten democracy. Her book is called Boilerplate: the fine print, vanishing rights, and the rule of law.
Professor Radin teaches at the University of Michigan and is the Microsoft Visiting Fellow at the University of Toronto.