22,000 People Accidentally Agree to Clean Port-a-Potties and Sewers for Free WiFi

(ANTIMEDIA) —Public wifi company Purple announced Thursday in a press release that over 22,000 people had agreed to perform up to 1,000 hours of community service — including tasks like cleaning portable lavatories and cleaning sewers — in exchange for free wifi. The Manchester-based company, which provides wifi hotspots for companies and events all over the world, added a temporary “Customer Service Clause” to their terms and conditions over a two-week period as an experiment to see just how many users actually read the terms before clicking “accept.”

The prank clause was added to the company’s regular terms and 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

Users were even given the option to “flag” the spoof clause to collect a prize. Out of the approximately 22,000 users who signed up for free wifi during the two-week experiment, Purple reported that only one person noticed the strange terms. One. That’s 0.0045%. The company revealed that the results underscore their motivation for conducting the experiment in the first place, which was to “highlight the lack of consumer awareness when signing up to use free WiFi.”

The wifi company coordinated the results to be released in tandem with the announcement that Purple is officially the first wifi provider to achieve compliance with General Data Protection Regulation, new E.U. legislation that will not officially take effect until May 25th, 2018. In compliance with the data privacy regulations, Purple has streamlined their privacy policy, reducing it from 1600 to 260 words and providing users with more clarity with regard to who has access to their data and how it will be used. They also unveiled a feature called Profile Portal, which “gives end users complete transparency of all the data collected about them and also allows them to modify their marketing preferences.”

Purple stresses the importance of providing users with more control over their personal data. “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,” said Purple CEO Gavin Wheeldon.

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