Over 22,000 people agreed to clean porta-potties, hug stray cats and dogs, and scrape chewing gum off the streets for exchange for free Wi-Fi.
U.K. Wi-Fi provider Purple decided to conduct an experiment to highlight the lack of consumer awareness; they did this by inserting a “Community Service Clause” into their usual terms of service that stated:
“The user may 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.”
Only one individual managed to spot the clause, which is only 0.000045 percent of all Wi-Fi users who signed up.
CEO of Purple, Gavin Wheeldon said in a statement: “WiFi users need to read terms when they sin 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.”
Luckily, the company said they do not plan to ask those who signed up to “repay the community debt.”