Over 22,000 users unwittingly agreed to clean public toilets when they connected to free WiFi hotspots at various UK establishments.
This was both a prank and experiment orchestrated by UK-based WiFi hotspot provider Purple. The experiment was to show that people rarely read privacy policies or terms & conditions, and usually agree to everything you put in front of them.
Purple ran the experiment for two weeks and had set up a prize for anyone who noticed the hidden clauses in the terms and conditions that users agree to before connecting to its public WiFi hotspots. Only one person noticed out of over 22,000.
Below are the clauses that Purple hid in its terms & conditions:
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
Purple said it does not plan to enforce any of the clauses, as this was only a media stunt to announce that they have become the first UK-based GDPR-compliant WiFi provider.
The EU's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new European law that will come into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR adds many provisions that protect user privacy and consumer rights for citizens of EU member states.
Some of the GDPR clauses include provisions that companies active in the EU must obtain "unambiguous consent" from users before collecting any personal data that will be used for marketing purpose.
Furthermore, the GDPR also dictates that companies that collect this data must provide means for users to review it at any time, and even withdraw their consent. The company must then remove the user's data.
Image credits: Wikimedia Foundation