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Free wine hidden in small print claimed after three months

Free wine hidden in small print
Getty Getty
Free wine hidden in small print
Getty Getty

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Free wine hidden in small print: An intriguing turn of events has resulted in a free bottle of wine being claimed after it lay dormant for an astonishing three months under the privacy policy of a website belonging to a tax-focused think group. Tax Policy Associates had the bright idea to sneakily include the clause in February, hoping to see if anyone would read all of their conditions. It was an adventurous experiment.

In a tweet on X (formerly known as Twitter), the fascinating tale was revealed by this nonprofit’s director Dan Neidle, who promised a “bottle of good wine” to the astute observer who uncovered the hidden offer. Remarkably, the notion to incorporate the wine reward into the privacy policy was proposed by Mr. Neidle, who is well-known for his reporting on prominent tax matters, including those involving former Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

After the fact, Mr. Neidle spoke with the BBC about his reasoning for the clandestine inclusion, explaining that it was an irrational rebellion against the many privacy restrictions that are there in the internet but are generally disregarded. In a section of their privacy policy that has since been revised, they express their disappointment that their mysterious offer was not responded to sooner. They explain that they had promised to deliver a bottle of wine to the first individual to contact them in February, but they did not receive any answer until May.

Whatever the size or type of organization, this sneaky move is a sobering reminder of the legal responsibilities that every company must bear. The Information Commissioner’s Office states that the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) requires all entities, from large corporations to small businesses and charitable organizations, to create and maintain a privacy policy if they handle personal data.

Twitter @DanNeidle

Even though the wine offer was made in secret, the person who ended up claiming it was quite fortunate. The perceptive person found the line while looking for samples of privacy policies, as Mr. Neidle said. This illusive “cheating” finally paid off, allowing the prize to be retrieved.

It is worth noting that Tax Policy Associates has engaged in such covert operations before. A comparable tactic was used when it was just starting out, although it took longer to be discovered. “We ran it again to check if people were paying closer attention, and they aren’t,” Mr. Neidle commented, illuminating the continued disregard for the small print.

By way of illustration, Mr. Neidle drew comparisons between the entertainment industry and the legendary rock band Van Halen, who were famed for their unique demand for M&Ms, namely the brown ones that had to be carefully removed from the bowl. The purpose of this somewhat strange request, he explained, was to determine how seriously promoters took their detailed technical requirements.

Finally, a bottle of Château de Sales 2013/14, Pomerol, was kindly presented to the fortunate recipient of the mysterious “good wine” in this enthralling story. Looking back on his unique approach, Mr. Neidle smiled wryly and echoed Van Halen’s clever idea: “It was a brilliant strategy to see if people were paying attention.”

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