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Londoners trade first born children in exchange for free Wi-Fi

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.

wi-fi herods clause

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':

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Rich started PRexamples.com in January 2012. It has been named Vuelio's top PR blog. He runs consumer PR agency Radioactive PR, which has two offices in the UK. He also wrote 'Myths of PR', which went on to become Amazon's best-selling PR book within days of release. In March 2013, Rich co-founded blogger outreach service bloggabase.com. He tweets about PR stunts, campaigns and other media bits and pieces @RichLeighPR

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  • Andrea Drake

    Great article. We shared it with our readers in our social e-magazine. Thank you! http://ow.ly/C6T02