Wi-Fi firm Purple sneaks 'community service' clause into its T&Cs

Can't be GDP-arsed with this anymore

For a regulation designed to safeguard data processing, the forthcoming GDPR has already generated a surfeit of info. Somewhere in Europe sits a growing compliance mountain.

How then do companies get their messages to stand out amid this deluge of press releases? The crazy kids at Wi-Fi biz Purple have the answer: be zany!

In its PR missive, Purple said it hid a "community service clause" among its usual terms and conditions for two weeks, requiring users to carry out 1,000 hours of community service in exchange for free Wi-Fi.

This includes cleansing local parks of animal waste; providing hugs to stray cats and dogs; manually relieving sewer blockages; cleaning portable loos; and painting snail shells.

Purple inserted the clause into the T&Cs of 22,000 users, which it claimed underlines an important issue about users needing to be aware of what they sign up to (a point that obviously extends beyond regulatory changes).

Gavin Wheeldon, chief exec, said: "Wi-Fi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network. What are they agreeing to, how much data are they sharing, and what license are they giving to providers? Our experiment shows it's all too easy to tick a box and consent to something unfair."

The stunt is part of Purple's announcement that it is apparently the first Wi-Fi provider to be GDPR compliant, one year ahead of deadline.

Wheeldon added: "We have acted quickly to be the first Wi-Fi provider to be fully GDPR compliant. Purple's Profile Portal means all end users know they can control how their data is being used."

Yes, it's just annoying, quirky marketing. But, frankly, given the unrelenting tide of GDPR releases passing El Reg's desk, some kudos to Purple for at least approaching it with a bit of originality. ®

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