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Wifi Marketing

22,000 fall foul of Wi-Fi small print toilet scrubbing clause


By John Glenday, Reporter

July 14, 2017 | 3 min read

Free Wi-Fi provider Purple has signed up 22,000 unwitting volunteers willing to carry out 1,000 hours of community service after sneakily inserting a civic duty clause into its terms and conditions which people must agree to when signing up for its services.


22,000 fall foul of free W-Fi small print with toilet scrubbing duties

Amongst the suggested duties contained in the ‘community service clause’ were requests to clean portaloos, manually relieve sewer blockages and paint snails shells.

Rather than an altruistic drive to clean manky toilets or brighten up gastropods the stunt was instead geared toward exposing the ‘lack of consumer awareness’ shown by ordinarily savvy people when presented by a great wall of text.

The erroneous clause, spotted by just one eagle-eyed Wi-Fi customer over the course of a week, read: “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.”

Purple CEO Gavin Wheeldon said: "Wi-Fi 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.”

There is a serious cause behind these antics however with Purple keen to stress that it is the first General Data Protection Regulation compliant Wi-Fi provider in the UK, mandating that it obtain ‘unambiguous consent’ before utilizing personal data for marketing purposes.

Purple Wi-Fi offers presence analytics and location-based services as marketing opportunities.

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