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People Accidentally Agree to Clean Toilets for Free Wi-Fi

UK-based Wi-Fi provider Purple recently conducted a clever experiment to prove how oblivious people are when agreeing to a company's terms and conditions.

The company added a "community service clause" to its usual terms that stated users may be required, at Purple's discretion, to carry out 1,000 hours of community service that may include: "cleansing local parks of animal waste," "providing hugs to stray cats and dogs," "manually relieving sewer blockages," "cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events," "painting snail shells to brighten up their existence," and "scraping chewing gum off the streets."

Not surprisingly, a lot of people agreed to the terms: not a couple dozen or even few hundred, but more than 22,000 in two weeks.

"Don't worry, we aren't going to round up these individuals and ask them to don their rubber gloves and repay the community debt," Purple wrote on its website. "The real reason behind our experiment is to highlight the lack of consumer awareness when signing up to use free Wi-Fi."

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Users who attempted to connect had the opportunity to flag the questionable clause in return for a prize. Only one person spotted it over the two-week experiment.

While amusing, this should be a wake-up call to users. "Wi-Fi users need to read terms when they sign up to access a network," Purple CEO Gavin Wheeldon said in a statement. "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."

Facebook recently rolled out a feature dubbed Find Wi-Fi aimed at help you stay connected when you're on the go. As its name suggests, Find Wi-Fi helps you locate available Wi-Fi hotspots nearby by displaying hotspots that businesses have shared with Facebook from their Page. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions before blindly connecting to one of the hotspots.

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Google Play Movies & TV becomes a one-stop shop for everything that streams

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That means you can find original programming – like Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” – and then start watching it on the streaming service that hosts it. “We deeplink right into playback for that [third-party streaming] app,” explains Ben Serridge, the product manager for the Movies & TV app at Google. “So if I wanted to start watching ‘The Good Doctor’ pilot, I press the play button and it goes into the ABC app and start playback.” Beyond the big names, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the app also pulls in content from ABC, CBS, FOX NOW, NBC, HBO NOW, HBO Go, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, Max Go, Starz, Disney Now, HGTV, BET Now, Comedy Central, A&E, Cooking Channel, Crackle, DIY Network, Food Network, History, Lifetime, MTV, The CW, Travel Channel, Tubi TV and VH1. 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Also not addressed by either Apple or Google’s app are which shows may be available to stream or record via live TV services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV. (Although, to be fair, that’s not only a different set of services, it’s also a much larger challenge given that broadcast network availability varies by market. A dedicated solution like Suppose.tv or Fomopop’s live TV finder may work better.) Meanwhile, there are other tools for finding and tracking favorite shows, like Reelgood or TV Time (or a jailbroken Fire TV stick we should admit), but they don’t have the the benefit of matching content from a rent-and-buy marketplace like Google Play, or being available across phone, tablet, and desktop web, like Google Play. Google says the new features will roll out to Android phones and tablets in the U.S. over the next few days.

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