This Wi-Fi prank would make anyone read the terms and conditions

This Wi-Fi prank would make anyone read the terms and conditions

"Wi-Fi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network", Purple CEO Gavin Wheeldon said in a statement.

A company that provides free wifi at numerous bars, shopping centres, hotels, airports, theatres, arena venues and stadiums has revealed that when it added a "community service clause" into its terms and conditions, nobody really noticed. Well, that desire to find the fastest way to the internet resulted in 22,000 people unknowingly signing up for 1,000 hours of community service.

Purple says the silly clause in its T&Cs was placed there to highlight the "lack of consumer awareness" around what people sign up to. "Our experiment shows it's all too easy to consent to something unfair".

However, the firm pointed out that 'while terms and conditions are legally binding - it is contrary to public policy to sell children in return for free services, so the clause would not be enforceable in a court of law'. Of the 22,275 people duped in the United States and across 31 other countries, only one person person spotted the joke.

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"The user may be required, at Purple's discretion, to carry out 1,000 hours of community service", read the clause. All those anxious about having to manually relieve sewer blockages or painting snail shells can breathe a sigh of relief. This may include the following.

"Cleaning festival loos, hugging stray cats and dogs, and scraping chewing gum off the streets are just some of the uninviting tasks people have agreed to in exchange for free WiFi". The finding confirms what most users and providers have known for years: ticking the checkbox isn't the same as actually accepting the terms. Painting snail shells to brighten up their existence.

Purple believes that one of GDPR's headline rulings, the introduction of "unambiguous consent" before users' personal or behavioural data can be used for marketing purposes, is one that should be standardised across the industry now.

The EU will start enforcing the legislation in May 2018, probably around the time Purple's customers would start finishing their community service requirement.

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