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United Kingdom Wireless Networking The Courts

UK Wifi Provider Tricks Customers Into Agreeing To Clean Sewers (upi.com) 71

An anonymous reader quotes UPI: Unwitting customers in the United Kingdom who didn't read the terms and conditions for use of a public WiFi hotspot agreed to perform 1,000 hours of community service, including unclogging sewers and scraping gum off the street. The gag was conceived by WiFi provider Purple. The company inserted the clause into its terms and conditions -- the technically legally binding agreement consumers approve in exchange for use of free Internet, though virtually few actually read the terms. The company said it did so to call attention to the fact consumers are regularly agreeing to terms that they may not actually like, including granting access to private information and data about their web browsing habits.
Other community service tasks agreed to by users included "providing hugs to stray cats and dogs" and "painting snail shells to brighten up their existence." The agreement also promised a prize to anyone who actually became aware of the prize's existences after reading the terms and conditions -- yet after two weeks only one person came forward to claim the prize.
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UK Wifi Provider Tricks Customers Into Agreeing To Clean Sewers

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  • and conditions....there's the "null"
  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @06:43PM (#54816481)

    Any truly competent lawyer should be able to demonstrate that they are badly designed from a human factors and effective communication perspective, as evidenced by the fact that they are almost always unread yet clicked on by almost everybody. It's not an effective contract, since there was no effective communication about it.

  • I donate any prizes I win to widows and orphans.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Fine Print Society
    http://privatopia.blogspot.com/2011/12/fine-print-society.html [blogspot.com]

    by Evan McKenzie
    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    As I go over all the bills and statements and announcements and changes to this or that plan or arrangement or contract that have flooded into my mailbox recently, it occurs to me that this is a form of concerted action. Corporate managers have collectively determined to overwhelm us with fine print. We can't possibly read all this crap, much less meditate like some 18th century ari

    • by Anonymous Coward

      consumerist : adhesion contracts are incomprehensible, unfair, and predatory. They should be regulated.

      corporatist : people have the right to contract themselves into slavery. If they didn't read and understand what they agreed to, they deserve whatever they get. Yeah free market capitalism!

  • which specifies Right Whale A-221 as the arbitrator....because, of course, the rulings are always right....

  • Victim shaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @07:17PM (#54816635) Journal

    So, shouldn't they be calling attention to the ridiculous EULA ecosystem that companies have managed to create, where the agreements are so long and full of legal jargon that the average person can't possibly be expected to fully understand them? Shouldn't they be doing that instead of mocking those same people who either didn't read or didn't understand what they were agreeing to?

    • ... I mean, that was pretty clearly the point here... Doesn't sound like they're taking anyone to court to make them scrub shit, nor are they naming names and saying "shame, shame, shame"? I'm confused as to what you're suggesting they should do instead. Stand on a street corner and read EFF bulletins on EULAs out loud?
    • Also, they're so long that by the time you're finished reading your allotted free WiFi connection time has long expired!

  • If there is any city in the world that best understands clean sewers it would be London.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @07:22PM (#54816661) Homepage

    UK wifi provider: LOL! jokes all around! we didnt really want you to paint snail shells!

    US wifi provider: You will paint shells until your fucking hands drop off, and if so much as one of them chips, we will grind everyone you love into paint for the next batch.

    Adjit Pai: sounds like fun! pick any of your favourite colours youre told to pick!

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @07:28PM (#54816691)

    I'd rather lick all the toilets in Grand Central Station clean with my tongue, than spend another minute with you!

    They should have used that exact language in the EULA.

  • Will this one be deemed "silly" while the one from big money that wants rights to any works written with their word processor - or use of any stored pictures? OK, "community service is silly", go ahead judge.
  • do we _want_ click EULAs to be legally binding. In particular the ones that obfuscate the terms of the EULA? You know, they don't have to be, right? We as a civilization can decide they are not.

    Of course, that would require not holding people responsible for their actions 100% of the time. And that's something folks don't like. People seem to want each other to suffer unnecessarily. As near as I can tell it's because life is hard for most of us and if our lives are going to suck then everybody else's da
  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @08:34PM (#54816913)
    I use a browser plug in to add the following HTTP header to every request I make:

    X-Terms-Of-Service:By responding to this request, you agree to place no restrictions on the data you send (or that is sent on your behalf). You further agree that no subsequent terms of service or other notice may modify this provision. Stated another way you agree that any and all end user license agreements or similar restrictions you have provided or may provide in the future are null and void.

    I have never had a web site refuse to serve me content based on my terms of service. Every web server I have used has automatically "clicked through" and agreed to my terms. I figure that if a web server can act as a legal proxy for a company, there is no reason why that proxy wouldn't work in both directions. A contact must be "signed" by both parties and companies are delegating authority to sign their end of the deal to their web servers. If a a web server can act as a legal representative and enter the company into a binding contract, then surely the same web server can accept my contract and legally bind the company to it

    They might argue that it is not practical to provide a legal team to review all of the headers in all of the requests that come in. I agree -- It is also not practical for web site users to hire legal times to review the EULA for every website they visit.

    Is my approach legally sound? Probably not. Am I a lawyer? No. Is it an interesting legal question? I think it is. Does it provide me entertainment thinking about it? Definitely.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's actually probably a good one to put in your user agent string since quite often that is logged and tracked for metrics purposes. If that was stamped in every log entry every time you hit the site.

      Then again that would be a pretty unique identifier that someone like google of FB could use to track every single site that you've hit that had a piece of their malvertising in it

    • The answer is no in many parts of the world. Despite the fact you'd be hard pressed showing that what you did created a contract (not only because your message was effectively hidden, not sent to a person or a system designed to engage in contracts for a person or business), but there's rules against contractual clauses that are out of the ordinary.

      You can take it to court, but you'll find that your just as likely to get the privacy you want as any user of Purple is to be doing community service.

      You see tha

  • EULAs are toilet paper in EU. Microsoft and Oracle learned the hard way when ECJ approved resale of OEM software.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @09:01PM (#54817033) Journal

    Most EULA's ask you to do business with a sewer.

  • Frankly, I find it just impossible to read every document I have to sign for every-day life. Not because of time but because my brain just wants to melt, flow out my ears and run away.

    I think companies should be required to make customers aware of any kinds of things that are part of a contract which are not immediately obvious to a layman.

    So the fact that coffee is hot when freshly bought would not apply but if the only reason your internet is so cheap is the fact that you sell my data, then you better put

  • However the TOS included a Herold clause that allowed the company to claim the first born child or the beloved pet of the users who agreed.
    One of the terms stipulated that the user must give up their firstborn child or most beloved pet in exchange for WiFi use. In the short time the T&C page was active, six people agreed to the outlandish clause.
    Link [f-secure.com]
  • I don't think the article knows the meaning of "technically legally binding". Such a clause is not technically legally binding as case law has demonstrated consumers are not bound to legal clauses that they don't expect in the normal course of a business.

    Can't remember the case myself but it had someone to do with someone trying to get someone else signing over the deed of the house on a delivery slip.

    • Quite true.

      People believe that contracts are absolutely binding. While it is wise to treat every clause as legally binding before signing, courts are allowed to use a little common sense to determine whether the person signing actually understood what they were agreeing to.
  • WiFi hotspot EULAs I care least about. For the simple reason that it's very hard to trace back anything I do on that hotspot to me. When connecting to a free WiFi hotspot I usually do this because I have some time on my hands and want to get some work done, not because I want to read legalese. Considering the length of these "agreements" you can probably only get halfway before it's time to move on... leaving you no chance to actually make use of the network.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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