Six people agree to give children up for free Wi-Fi

30 Sep 2014

In a particularly amusing social experiment, six people who tried to access free Wi-Fi inadvertently agreed to give their eldest child up after clicking ‘agree’ to its terms and conditions.

Researchers in London who carried out the experiment created a free Wi-Fi spot in England’s capital to see whether anyone actually reads the terms and conditions prompted by the service.

According to Herald Scotland, the terms put to people were so purposefully ridiculous that no person would sign up to the service. The terms included asking people to “render up their eldest child for the duration of eternity”.

In the report entitled Tainted Love: How Wi-Fi Betrays Us, completed in conjunction with the online privacy company F-Secure, the researchers discussed the potential for mass surveillance in the modern age as companies and organisations hide privacy issues deep within long terms and conditions.

Insatiable appetite for bandwidth

The researchers also created a free Wi-Fi hotspot that, in theory, was trojanised to deliver malicious software onto peoples’ phones, something 250 people agreed to sign up to.

Perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of the experiment was the ease with which the researchers were able to establish their harmful Wi-Fi hotspots, as they were able to create these broadcasting devices for around €200 and with little technical know-how.

“This appetite for bandwidth … has blinded consumers to the risks that they are taking,” the report stated. “In pursuit of free bandwidth, people are prepared to do anything as our experiment showed with its draconian terms and conditions.”

Thankfully for the six people who agreed to the original terms and conditions, the researchers have stated that they don’t intend to hold up their side of the bargain.

Public Wi-Fi image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic