Londoners willing to give up their kids for free WiFi


In a virtual world where advertisers and media are battling for only a few seconds of your attention, the last thing on your mind is spending what feels like hours reading the Terms and Conditions of every new sign-up or update online.

To further prove this point, an experiment that ran in London, UK, had six people sign up to give away their first-born children in turn for free public WiFi.

Whether it’s voluntarily or unknowingly (it’s more likely the latter), all six random participants agreed to the Terms and Conditions in order to access free public WiFi. Under the “Herod Clause,” the small but lengthy print stated that by accessing this WiFi, “the recipient agreed to assign their first-born child to us for the duration of eternity.”

The experiment was run by the security firm, F-Secure, in an attempt to point out “the total disregard for computer security by people when they are mobile.”

“While terms and conditions are legally binding, it is contrary to public policy to sell children in return for free services, so the clause would not be enforceable in a court of law,” the firm stated, subtly reminding one of the South Park episode with Kyle and the HumancentiPad.

The security risks not only lie in the users reluctance to read the Terms and Conditions, but also people simply not being aware of the dangers of public WiFi hotspots.

The Guardian also points out a study done by the ethical hacking German group, SSyS, that built a mobile device which can create a WiFi hotspot. Taking it out on the streets, the device then managed to connect 250 devices to the WiFi. The company ultimately managed to get their hands on sensitive user information like the text of emails they sent, the email addresses of the sender and recipient, and even passwords.

“At best, your device is only leaking information about you — at worst, your passwords are being spilled into a publicly accessible space… anybody on the network can see your information,” said F-Secure Security adviser Sean Sullivan.

Rightly so, if we did go though all the privacy policies we’re confronted with, we’d spend around 76 days a year doing so. Maybe they should start doing our T&Cs in comic format, memes or lists?

Image: SimonQ錫濛譙 via Flickr.



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