Let’s be honest, no-one reads terms and conditions and if you are someone who does then, who even are you???
Next time though you may be more careful as 22,000 people signed up to carry out 1,000 hours of community service in exchange for free Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi provider Purple decided to illustrate the ‘lack of consumer awareness’ by added a spoof term to its T&Cs on its network of branded hotspots.
Hidden among the usual terms and conditions was this paragraph:
The user may be be required, at Purple’s discretion, to carry out 1,000 hours of community service. This may include the following:
Cleansing local parks of animal waste
Providing hugs to stray cats and dogs
Manually relieving sewer blockages
Cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events
Painting snail shells to brighten up their existence
Scraping chewing gum off the streets
Incredibly only one person during the two-week prank noticed the clause.
Of course the company has no intention of forcing people to scrape chewing gum off the streets, but they do believe that the experiment has highlighted an important issue.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple, said in a statement:
WiFi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network.
What are they agreeing to, how much data are they sharing, and what license are they giving to providers?
Our experiment shows it’s all too easy to tick a box and consent to something unfair.
Maybe next time these 22,000 people will be more vigilant.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.