Do you always read the fine print?
Most of us don't. And for a few Londoners who fell victim to a secret experiment, failing to do so meant agreeing to exchange their first born children for free Wi-Fi.
Gasp. I hope it was really high speed, at least.
OK, nobody is going to actually lose their children, but we could all learn from the test subjects' carelessness.
The Cyber Security Research institute ran the experiment in one of London's busiest neighborhoods. The idea was to show the incredible risks we take with public Wi-Fi networks.
Subjects actually agreed to a Herod clause
The experiment tried to lure subjects in by offering free Wi-Fi service. The terms included a Herod clause that asked users to, "hand over their eldest child for the duration of eternity." Apparently, many folks clicked right through without reading a word.
The page was disabled after six people signed up. The entire process took only a few minutes.
The Finnish security firm F-Secure who sponsored the research joked that they had no intent to uphold the clause. In their public statement they said, “As this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents ... 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."
Of course, this test was never really about exchanging children for services. It was just done to show that Wi-Fi security should be taken seriously. The potential for inattentive users unwittingly accepting bad deals just one of many dangers that comes with using unsecured Wi-Fi.