In June, a number of unwitting Londoners agreed to give up their eldest child in a stunt aiming to highlight the security dangers of public Wi-Fi use.
The experiment was set up by the Cyber Security Research Institute, which offered free Wi-Fi hotspots across the capital in order to make its point. It was backed by European law enforcement agency Europol and ‘sponsored’ (not quite sure what that means in this context) by security firm F-Secure.
In order to get online, users had to agree to the terms and conditions – in which there was a ‘Herod clause’, asking people to ‘agree to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity’.
Six people agreed, in a PR idea remarkably similar to the one by Gamestation in 2010, where the retailer collected 7,500 people’s souls on April Fools’ Day by catching people out in the T&Cs.
The research has been released and, if you’re interested, is detailed here on The Guardian. It all got a bit wordy for me, to be honest, but if POP3 email protocol is your bag, you’ll love it. The experiment has had some great coverage on the likes of Time, The Washington Post and more.
Here’s a campaign video for completeness, grandiosely entitled ‘The Great Wi-Fi Experiment':