The study, called “The Biggest Lie on the Internet,” created a fake social networking site with some extracurriculars in the fine print.
It was co-authored by researchers at two universities: York University, in Canada, and University of Connecticut.
The fake app, called NameDrop, had a hidden “gotcha clauses” that included data sharing with the NSA “and other security agencies in the United States and abroad.”
Another said participants agreed to sign over their firstborn. “If the user does not yet have children, this agreement will be enforceable until the year 2050,” the policy continued.
According to the study, nearly 550 people downloaded the app and 74 percent skipped the privacy police, selecting ‘quick join.’
Those who did read, only read for an average 73 seconds. The researchers said, based on average adult reading speed (250-280 words per minute), the privacy police should have taken 30 minutes to read.
The terms of service were read for an average 51 seconds, but should have taken about 16 minutes to read. The researchers concluded that 98% missed terms of service ‘gotcha clauses.’
According to Consumerist.com, a similar experiment in the UK in 2014 found the same results, with users unwittingly signing away their firstborn in exchange for access to a free WiFi hotspot.
A UK-based retailer, as well, in 2010 when their customers happily, and unwittingly, signed over their immortal souls.