It probably sounds a little ridiculous, but ever since the “HUMANCENTiPAD” episode of South Park, I’ve become slightly paranoid when clicking “Yes” on any online agreements. Of course, I’ve also blindly accepted the terms of all of Apple’s latest iOS 8 agreements on multiple devices, so it goes to show how much the threat of having cuttlefish defecated into my mouth has really influenced me, because a fast-paced bro like me doesn’t have the time for all of those fancy words. And I know I’m not alone, because there are some people in London who learned the hard way that there might be some seriously f*cked up language buried in some of these agreements that we’re ignoring.
The security firm F-Secure, in cooperation with the law enforcement agency Europol, conducted a little experiment to see how many people would fall for a devious “Terms of Service” contract when it came to signing up for something as simple and seemingly harmless as free WiFi, according to The Guardian. The so-called price for agreeing to the terms? Your legacy.
When people connected to the hotspot, the terms and conditions they were asked to sign up to included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up. (Via The Guardian)
That might not sound like a lot of people, but if the right six adults are targeted, that could lead to a hell of a basketball team. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s how Mike Krzyzewski recruits for Duke. But don’t worry, because F-Secure will not actually be keeping anyone’s child. At least not that we know of.
“We have yet to enforce our rights under the terms and conditions but, as this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents,” wrote the Finnish company in its report.
“Our legal advisor Mark Deem points out that – 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 purpose of the experiment was to show how easy it would be for someone to carry a mobile device that serves as a hotspot and then trick people into agreeing to all sorts of things that they’re not bothering to read. So if you’re a budding con man and didn’t have that perfect idea just yet, you do now, thanks to F-Secure.