United Kingdom’s wifi users unknowingly agreed to perform community service thanks to a sneaky terms and conditions clause. Hidden at the end of the wifi conditions was a clause that bound users to 1,000 hours of service, including maintenance on public streets and sewers. However, these individuals can rest easy as this was implemented simply for public awareness.
Wifi provider Purple was responsible for the social experiment. The company wanted to make a point about users who don’t actually read the terms and conditions. Many consumers willingly agree to terms and conditions without understanding the implications. Some wifi providers will ask for access to private information. Unfortunately, most of the time users will grant access without realizing it.
Purple did have some fun during its trial run of terms and conditions. In addition to normal community service tasks, users were asked to hug stray dogs and cats, clean bathrooms, and paint snail shells. The company even offered a prize to anyone who fully read and contemplated the terms. Only one individual reportedly claimed that prize.
Similar Terms And Conditions Experiments
Users not reading terms and conditions is nothing new. Earlier this year, a similar test was conducted by college professors Jonathan Obar and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch. A fake social media site called NameDrop was created just to see how many people would read the terms, which dictated members must give their account to their first-born child. Only a quarter of the 500-plus college students tested actually uncovered this clause.
Fortunately for these students, NameDrop doesn’t exist. The professors simply wanted to prove a point. Consumers can sign away many personal rights just by checking that box at the bottom of the browser. What happened over the weekend in the United Kingdom was just another example of why individuals need to protect themselves online. Purple’s experiment can be used as a warning to all future wifi consumers.