Posted on July 13, 2017 by staff

Would you clean a toilet for free Wi-Fi?


Would you be prepared to carry out 1,000 hours of community service in exchange for free Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi provider Purple temporarily added the proviso into their terms and conditions to highlight how the public will often sign up to free Wi-Fi without reading the small print.

The Oldham-headquartered company say 22,000 customers unwittingly signed-up to do 1,000 hours of community service, which included tasks ranging from giving hugs to stray cats and dogs; cleaning portable toilets at events; to manually clearing sewer blockages.

All users were given the chance to flag the term and win a prize but only one person spotted it during the two-week experiment.

Purple say they have no intention of enforcing the community service debt but CEO Gavin Wheeldon says the experiment underlines an important issue.

“Wi-Fi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network,” he says. “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.”

Purple has also revealed that it is fully GDPR compliant, almost a year ahead of the government’s deadline for businesses to adhere to this new data protection legislation.

The company conducted this experiment to highlight how GDPR should be welcomed by businesses and consumers, for bringing fairness and trust to the heart of the digital economy.

This legislation, which comes into force on May 25th, 2018, has been hailed as the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. It harmonises existing data privacy laws across Europe, and will reshape the way organisations approach data privacy.

Once the legislation is introduced, companies that breach consumers’ rights will be fined up to 4 per cent of revenue, or 20 million Euros, whichever is greatest.

Wheeldon says: “We welcome the strengthening of data protection laws across Europe that GDPR will bring. Not only will it give Wi-Fi end users more control over how their personal data is being used by companies, it will also raise the level of trust in the digital economy.

“We have acted quickly to be the first Wi-Fi provider to be fully GDPR compliant to pass on the benefits to consumers as soon as possible.

“Purple’s Profile Portal means that all end users have the comfort of knowing they can control how their data is being used. And if they’re happy to hug a few stray dogs at the same time it’s a win-win.”