‘Free’ Wi-Fi for first born? … Well, about that

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The press is having a field day with a report that a half-dozen Londoners unwittingly agreed to give up their first-born child in exchange for otherwise free Wi-Fi access.

The Washington Post reports:

In an experiment sponsored by security firm F-Secure, an open Wi-Fi network was set up in a busy public area. When people connected, they were presented with lengthy terms and conditions.

But to see just how little attention we pay when checking that agreement box, F-Secure included a "Herod clause" -- one that offered up free Wi-Fi in exchange for the company's permanent ownership of the user's firstborn child.

The experiment was intended to highlight the dangers of connecting to unknown Wi-Fi networks, the Guardian reports. While only six people clicked through the Herod clause, another 33 devices connected once the researchers removed all Terms and Conditions. Meanwhile, users left their personal data -- including passwords -- completely vulnerable to the network.

No actual children exchanged hands, naturally, which would have come as a double relief to me had I been among the inattentive six.


I do not know which of my 13-year-old triplets was first born, even though I was in the room at the time. They know, I am quite sure, because the topic arises every now and then. But I have made a conscious decision not to get sucked into the matter because it does not matter.

I know their birthday. And I’m not giving up any of them for free Wi-Fi. That’s all that matters.

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