Thousands Agree To Manually Clean Sewers In User Agreement For WiFi Services

200px-Wifi_logo300px-Sewer_coverNeither Congress nor foreign legislatures have done anything about ridiculous user contracts for services like WiFi or cable that require consumers to sign long agreements with impenetrable legal language and clauses.  It is a knowing effort by companies to impose highly disadvantageous terms in mountains of legalese.  One company however has vividly demonstrated the scam to its credit.  The WiFi company, Purple, inserted language in its standard contract that obligated consumers to clean toilets at festivals and clear sewer blockages.  Some 22,000 people signed up.

The contract stated that these people are now legally required to perform 1000 hours of community service, including, but not limited to, cleaning toilets at festivals, scraping chewing gum off the streets and “manually relieving sewer blockages.” It was a funny gag but one with a serious point.  The “community service clause” was meant by the company “to illustrate the lack of consumer awareness of what they are signing up to when they access free wifi.”

In 2014, cybersecurity firm F-Secure did the same thing and actually got people in London to agree to give up their first born under a “Herod Clause” for WiFi.

Despite the humor in such gags, it is a disgrace that there has not been greater effort to combat these knowingly complex and convoluted contracts.

Of course, the more chilling question is who many would knowingly balance great WiFi against their eldest child.

 

 

43 thoughts on “Thousands Agree To Manually Clean Sewers In User Agreement For WiFi Services

  1. This form of stunt is bad for business as it has no value for inclusion within service contracts.

    Adept individuals will read the contract in its entirety and seeing sewer cleaning clauses will deter a number of individuals from subscribing to the service. The goal of the business is to recruit and retain good customers and this does not help the effort.

  2. Isn’t that how America obtained its first president without two parents who were citizens, AKA ‘natural born

    citizen,’ and the first president with foreign allegiances who was the son of a foreign-citizen father?”

    1. Not to put too fine a point on it, but every president before John Tyler was born of two parents who were not citizens of the United States at the time of their birth, so I’m pretty sure that the meaning of “natural born” is more nuanced than you think.

    2. Do all children of immigrants automatically owe allegiance to the country from which their parents emigrated? Even those born in the United States? Do my parents have to worry that the governments of Denmark and Norway are going to start to make demands on them? Or do those allegiances run only through a foreign-born father?

    3. Under US immigration law, only foreign-born children have to undergo the naturalization process with their parents — my Chicago-born wife was left in the waiting room while her parents and Korean-born older brother took their oath of citizenship. Would she be ineligible to be president? At the time she was born, her parents were still citizens of the Republic of Korea, so she’s the daughter of a man who was a foreign citizen at the time of her birth. So, “natural born” or not?

  3. I have lost my social security number. It was required for my driver’s license renewal. No SS number, no license.

    It was required for my latest signup for internet. No SS number, no internet.

    I had a police officer several years ago ask for it, in fact, insisted. I refused. I figured the worst he could do is give me a ticket which he did. (I’m white anglo in the southwest and didn’t know that’s probably what made a ticket the worst he would do). I had my seat belt on but the shoulder strap was behind me because it would have choked me if I really was in an accident. Too bad, the law mattered, my life didn’t. I’ve since made sure the strap crossed below my neck when I checked out a new-to-me car.

    I have clicked the “I agree” many times without reading the gobbledy-gook in tiny print. If presented with a paper to sign, I usually read it and annotate as appropriate, then sign and insist on a copy. Wish I could do that with internet stuff. I’d cross out paragraphs of garbage.

    • bettykath – I refuse to give anyone my SS number except my bank and my CPA. My copy of my SS number says in big letters, Not to be used for Identification.

      • Have you been refused a driver’s license? or internet? I guess I should have walked out in both cases. Have you ever asked to see a manager at the DMV after waiting in a long line? The internet place had no manager. Maybe the arrogant sob who set me up thought he was the manager. For the internet, I definitely should have walked out. He also took all information from my driver’s license except my mailing address. Great that I didn’t a bill for two months but then I started getting the dunning phone calls.

        • bettykath – AZ allows driver’s licenses without SS no. They just assign you a number. When pulled over I give them my driver’s license and tell them that is all they need. You should see how much I leave blank on the forms at the doctor’s office.

    • Most of the women in my family, except for me, are five feet, max and finding a car where the lowest setting fits their belt below their necks is part of the car buying process for them, too.

      If you have the shoulder strap behind your back, it leaves your upper torso free to smash into the wheel or the back of the front seat and break your neck. When your head hits the wheel, it snaps back while the lower half of your body keeps going. Your body can jackknife over the lap belt, and come completely out, hit the dash or wheel with great force, or even go through the windshield. Plus, putting it behind you can get the lap belt to ride up over your stomach, which would cause internal injuries in a crash. All of the force of the crash is concentrated across the abdomen instead of spread out across the body.

      That said, you are absolutely right never to wear a shoulder belt across the neck. Because then the force of the crash is across the front of your neck. If the shoulder belt goes across your neck at its lowest setting, then the car is not safe for you to ride in. Putting it behind you means you would be in increased risk of a broken neck and internal injuries.

      If you are petite, then there are attachments called seatbelt adjusters, available in Amazon (what isn’t available in Amazon, really?) Here is a link to a bunch of sources:

      https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=something+to+lower+the+shoulder+strap+on+seat+belts+for+adults&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

      You should probably get one for when you ride in friends’ cars or a taxi.

      Looking into it SSN is used to verify authenticity of the name given in some states, such as OH, when you are pulled over. In some states it is required on citations. In CA a SSN is required to obtain a DL, but it is not asked for in a citation, from what I can remember. It’s been at least 10 years since I had a ticket. I think that is the better way, and exposes people to less risk having their SSN floating around out there. The SSN helps attach a real name to the DL, and the DL has security on it such as holographic images to make fake ones a bit harder to make. Of course, here in CA, stolen identities and SSN is really common because of various crimes, such as illegal immigration. SSN are also used in court records. I suppose that’s how they get the info on how to put a judgement on your record.

  4. No one is touching my child, not even over my dead body. I would come back as a poltergeist and go all horror movie on them.

    However, I live in a rural area where the only internet available is satellite, which limits bandwidth use. I can’t watch videos and certainly not stream anything. I would probably consider clearing sewage blockages if I could have an unlimited, fast, First World internet connection.

    As for the article, one of the problems with the law is that it is impenetrable to all except lawyers. Disclosing it to us laypeople in 180 pages for everything from WiFi to signing up for trash service bill pay isn’t really explaining anything to us. And we can’t afford to hire a $300-$600/hour attorney to explain the legal terms required for most online service transactions. And if the impenetrable language does snare the unwitting victim into a disadvantageous situation, then the legal system takes the approach that the buyer should have known.

  5. Wait.

    Did Professor Turley just say “…impenetrable legal language and clauses.”

    Isn’t that how liberals, Marxists and globalists nullified and voided the

    Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights?

    Isn’t that how wholly unconstitutional Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, the “Great Society”

    welfare state, central planning, redistribution of wealth and social engineering came into existence?

    Isn’t that how America obtained its first president without two parents who were citizens, AKA “natural born

    citizen,” and the first president with foreign allegiances who was the son of a foreign-citizen father?

    The obfuscation and deceit of “Progressives” have insidiously vacated and dissolved the American

    founding documents, with emphasis on the unalienable right to private property which definitively

    precludes redistribution of wealth and social engineering.

    “…impenetrable legal language and clauses…,” INDEED!

    • George, with all due respect you need to get a grip. Corporations have been using impenetrable legal language before “liberals” were a thing.

      • Justice Holmes, Good point. George isn’t the only who insists on using the liberal or progressive label on any who seem to transgress in some way, even though, as you point out, the label is used inappropriately. The country has been split intentionally by those who most benefit, the corporations and their toadies. If we would just stop all the name calling and look at where we agree, we could rein in the corporations. Our laws of incorporation could be changed such that the worst offenders could lose their corporate rights. Corporations are not people, despite the Supreme Court ruling based on a false precedent. Corporations do have real live people making decisions that create fraud and do other harms. Those decision-makers should face charges and spend some time in prison. Facing the possibility of loss of charter for the corporation and/or loss of freedom for the individuals would do a lot to change the behaviors of those dividing us through nefarious means.

    • My comment above was meant to reply here.

      “Isn’t that how America obtained its first president without two parents who were citizens, AKA ‘natural born

      citizen,’ and the first president with foreign allegiances who was the son of a foreign-citizen father?”

      1. Not to put too fine a point on it, but every president before John Tyler was born of two parents who were not citizens of the United States at the time of their birth, so I’m pretty sure that the meaning of “natural born” is more nuanced than you think.

      2. Do all children of immigrants automatically owe allegiance to the country from which their parents emigrated? Even those born in the United States? Do my parents have to worry that the governments of Denmark and Norway are going to start to make demands on them? Or do those allegiances run only through a foreign-born father?

      3. Under US immigration law, only foreign-born children have to undergo the naturalization process with their parents — my Chicago-born wife was left in the waiting room while her parents and Korean-born older brother took their oath of citizenship. Would she be ineligible to be president? At the time she was born, her parents were still citizens of the Republic of Korea, so she’s the daughter of a man who was a foreign citizen at the time of her birth. So, “natural born” or not?

      • Porkchop – your wife is, her brother isn’t. Have the same problem in my family. Good luck to her when she runs for President. 🙂

        • Thanks, Paul. I’m not so sure that George would agree, though. But then I could be the “First Gentleman of the US” (“gentleman” only ex officio, though.) 🙂

          • Porkchop – I look forward to you redecorating the WH and picking new china. And you will need a national project to get behind. Start thinking of one now.

            • Paul, every room in every house needs more taxidermy, so I’d start there. I have a rather large dog (140 pounds and still growing) with very loose flews, so the White House walls will be redecorated with random “spots” and “streaks” — a kind of canine Jackson Pollock approach to internal decor.

              I was quite fond of Corelle dinnerware when I was a bachelor, so I would support American (Corning still is, I think?) business by going in that direction, I think. My old Corelle is still in the attic — someone in the house wanted something “nicer”.

              I would try to combat the kale abuse epidemic that is rampant in this country, particularly in the millennial generation. It has in fact, affected my own family — sadly, my own daughters eat kale; I tried an intervention, but it was unsuccessful. 😦 I am deeply invested in ridding the world of the scourge of kale!

  6. The unread inclusions are good evidence that people don’t read long agreements filled with legalese. A document cannot be enforceable if it is known to all the parties to the “contract” that those who click “agree” lack the ability to read and understand the terms. Arbitration, judge, or jury will need to decide what is reasonable and what isn’t.

    • Bingo

      ” It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? ”

      James Madison Federalist #62

  7. And in most areas if you want cable, you have no choice. There is usually only one provider. As far as giving up the first born for wifi–there are days I might consider that except for the fact that he usually helps me with the wifi if I run into technical difficulties.

    • I agree. If I gave up my first born for wi-fi, there would be no point in having it, as she is the one who knows all the passwords and figures out how to do the technical stuff to get my movies to stream. The only thing I do is bring the popcorn, lol.

  8. Fellow bloggers: please advise the rest of us if you know of any devices which are one time purchase and cheap which will penetrate the wifi systems so we can get on for free.

  9. Funny, very funny. Nothing comes close to forced arbitration that virtually relieves corporations of liability for everything including fraud, poisoning, and out right theft. But don’t expect Congress or the courts to do anything about it. We live in a country where corporations have all the rights and no responsibilities or liabilities. Humans, on the other hand, are expected to follow the law, pay taxes and support the corporations in anyway…. they are orders to do so. What was that….by the corporations and for the corporations. Yep, I’m sure that’s what Lincoln said.

  10. The HuffPo scouting squad was complaining about the lack of access to free Wi-Fi until they finally found a Panera Bread. These are the people who will be mixing with the unwashed when they roll the big bus out. Twitchy has a great collection of tweets from them. They seemed to be frightened by gun racks, pick-ups, people who open doors for them and say good morning. It is going to be a rough trip. The bus is going out during hunting season and those gun racks will have rifles in them. 🙂

    • I look forward to their reports from the primitive wilderness, lol. Especially if they regard not having immediate access to free high-speed internet as an indication of the lack of civilization, akin to not having flush toilets or running water.

  11. I hate government regulation, but it is frequently required in a world with such disparate negotiating power.

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