People Agreed To Clean Toilets And Scoop Dog Poo For Free Wifi

Jay Anderson
July 15, 2017

A "community service clause" embedded in Purple's T&Cs stated that users agreed to carry out 1,000 hours of community service, including cleaning portaloos, unclogging drainage pipes and hugging stray cats.

When you hit the jackpot finding a free public Wi-Fi network, the last thing you're anxious about is the list of terms and conditions you must agree to before connecting. One UK enterprise did just that, with only one person out of 22,000 spotting the trick.

The point of the exercise was to show that people never really read the small print when grabbing free net access, and are therefore unaware of any data they may be giving up to the company who is actually supplying the internet.

But just one person came forward to claim it, leaving thousands accidentally signing up to a month's worth of work including cleaning music festival toilets, hugging stray cats and dogs and even painting snail shells to "brighten up their existence".

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Purple is unlikely to call in the community service debt, but believes that the experiment underlines an important issue.

And according to a press release also cited in the video above, Purple's hypothesis that few people ever read what they agree to was proven overwhelmingly correct. The terms and conditions often hide more serious clauses that allow the provider to share your personal data, show you advertisements and track where you login to its hotspots. Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple, says, "WiFi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network".

Purple is announcing today that it is the first WiFi provider to be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant - nearly a year ahead of the government's deadline. What are they agreeing to, how much data are they sharing, and what license are they giving to providers? All European hotspot providers must meet the rules by May 25, 2018. The legislation also introduces a new "unambiguous consent" clause.

"Purple's Profile Portal means that all end users have the comfort of knowing they can control how their data is being used". Judging by the results of Purple's experiment, a single checkbox may no longer fit the bill.

Other reports by BadHub

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