TECH

Six Families 'Gave Up Children For WiFi' After Signing Obscure T&Cs Without Reading Them

30/09/2014 08:46 BST | Updated 30/09/2014 08:59 BST
Frank May/DPA
Identical twins with their parents

Six families from London have accidentally agreed to sacrifice their eldest child for free WiFi, after they failed to read the terms and conditions.

The agreements were made as part of an experiment into public services, and how much of a given contract people actually read.

Researchers said they set up a Wi-Fi hotspot in the capital which was accompanied by a detailed terms and conditions page.

This contained a "deliberately ridiculous" term which stated that in return for free Wi-Fi, the individual using the service was prepared to "render up their eldest child for the duration of eternity".

A report, entitled Tainted Love: How Wi-Fi Betrays Us by security and privacy company F-Secure, added: "Despite this, six people decided that it was a fair exchange and signed up."

The researchers said they would not be enforcing the clause.

Investigators also found that more than 250 people logged onto a "trojanised" free Wi-Fi hotspot in a period of half an hour.

The report concluded: "Our results illustrate the very real problem of the modern world which is that - while massively dependent on the technology - the population is unaware of its capabilities for surveillance and intrusion into their lives.

"The problem is that people implicitly trust their technology and are not aware of the implications of that trust.

"There is an insatiable pursuit of bandwidth, driven mainly by the desire to have video, data-rich apps and super-fast website performance on the move.

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

Of course the idea that people read all the way to the end of a T&C page is notoriously unrealistic. Similarly, data shows that most people do not read all the way to the end of an article page on a typical online newspaper. As such, we regret to inform you that by reading this article you have tacitly agreed to be bound by a contract necessitating your immediate viewing of every photo in the below gallery, until your eyes explode or you reach the end of the slideshow (whichever is sooner).