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Connecting to wifi at venues? Read the small print…

Thousands of people have legally agreed to clean festival toilets in exchange for free internet, reveals an experiment by Motorpoint Arena wifi supplier Purple

By Jon Chapple on 13 Jul 2017

Bonnaroo 2010 toilets, Jason Anfinsen, Purple wifi

image © Jason Anfinsen

Some 22,000 people have agreed to undertake 1,000 hours of community service – including cleaning festival toilets and scraping chewing gum from the pavement – in return for free wireless internet, reveals an experiment designed to illustrate a lack of awareness among consumers signing up for free in-venue wifi.

Purple, whose venue clients include Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena (10,000-cap.), United Wireless Arena (5,500-cap.) in Dodge City, Kansas, and Alexandra Palace (10,400-cap.) in London, for two weeks hid a “community service clause” in its terms and conditions. By accepting the T&Cs, users agreed to:

  • 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

While Purple says it is “unlikely to call in the community service debt”, its CEO says the findings underline a lack of public awareness over an important issue.

“Wifi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network,” comments Gavin Wheeldon. “What are they agreeing to, how much data are they sharing and what licence are they giving to providers? Our experiment shows it’s all too easy to tick a box and consent to something unfair.”


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