22K Free WiFi Users Now Legally Bound to Clean Toilets

Always read the terms and conditions
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2017 6:02 PM CDT
Thousands of WiFi users agreed to clean toilets at festivals, among other community service duties, because they didn't read the terms and conditions.   (Getty Images/anyaberkut)

(Newser) – Approximately 22,000 people are now legally bound to serve 1,000 hours of community service because they didn't read the terms and conditions before accessing free WiFi, the Guardian reports. And it's not pleasant community service either; duties include cleaning toilets at festivals and "manually relieving sewer blockages." According to CNET, people may also be asked to give hugs to stray dogs and cats and paint snails' shells to "brighten up their existence." UK WiFi company Purple—which handles WiFi hotspots for Outback Steakhouse, Legoland, and others—inserted the community service clause into its terms and conditions for two weeks to make a point about a "lack of consumer awareness," Mashable reports.

In a press release, Purple states it's "unlikely" to actually force community service on the 22,000 people who didn't read the terms and conditions (or, more worrisome, read the terms and conditions and agreed to them anyway). The company feels it's made its point. "WiFi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network," CEO Gavin Wheeldon says. "Our experiment shows it's all too easy to tick a box and consent to something unfair." Shockingly, there was one person who actually read the terms and conditions during Purple's two-week experiment and contacted them about the community service clause. Purple is giving that sole responsible individual a prize. (Study finds we might owe Microsoft our children.)

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