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Categories: Digital Security

Over 250 Namibians sign away their income!

Is winning a quick N$1,000 worth more than your entire salary for two years? Would you sign over your property for it? Well that’s exactly what more than 250 Namibian citizens did over the past two weeks.

Online Scavenger Hunt
Online Scavenger Hunt

On Monday 13 October 2014, iWits launched an awareness campaign masked in the form of a fun online scavenger hunt, in which entrants could stand a chance to win N$1,000. The competition and prize money in itself were real. The competition, however, was merely the smokescreen for a full-blown online security awareness campaign.

To enter and stand a chance to win, entrants were required to complete an online entry form, after which they were required to read and accept the competition’s terms and conditions. The terms and conditions seemed standard enough, however, lurking in the fine print were three outlandish clauses:

  • By entering this competition, an entrant agrees to pay iWits a monthly fee, totalling their full salary, allowance or retirement package for a total of 48 months.
  • By entering this competition, entrants agree that all property owned by the entrant or the entrants parents (in cases where the entrant is under the age of 18) will be signed over to iWits within 30 days after the competition has closed.
  • By entering this competition, the entrant agrees that iWits may select one family member of the entrant to use in any and all advertising materials for iWits for a total of 12 months, furthermore agreeing that no compensation will be provided to the entrant or the family member that is being used in the advertising promotion.

Each of the above-mentioned clauses had a link to the real set of terms and conditions which were available without the ridiculous clauses included. The main objective of the awareness campaign was to determine how many online users read terms and conditions. And the results were shocking!

The objective of the campaign

In today’s digital world, online security is of the utmost importance; and the first step to online security is to ensure that you read terms and conditions before signing up for a new account, downloading an app or simply using a website. More and more online transactions are being made every day: more products and services are being purchased online, more social media platforms are created, and more searches are done – the downfall being that the majority of online users never read the fine print until it’s too late.

"I have read and agree to the Terms" is the biggest lie on the web!

Each website, service or online platform has their own unique set of terms and conditions as well as their own unique privacy policies. And with the amount of information we are exposed to on a daily basis, it seems almost impossible to keep track of every seemingly arbitrary agreement we enter into.

It is the user’s responsibility to know what they are agreeing to when making an online transaction, purchasing products or services online or simply browsing the web. The more we as users ignore the risks, the more opportunities we give large corporations to benefit from our data.

An article published in the Guardian indicated that a mere 7% of British citizens read terms and conditions when buying a product or service online, while a fifth say they have suffered as a result of not doing so. According to the research done, nearly 6 out of 10 (58%) of adults said they would rather read an instruction manual or their utility or credit card bill than go through online terms, and more than 1 in 10 (12%) would rather read a phone book. Meanwhile, 43% of those who don’t always read the terms and conditions say they are boring or difficult to understand. But by failing to check the small print, they are in the dark about their rights… That is, of course, until something goes wrong.

On Monday 27 October 2014, each entrant received a direct email from iWits explaining what they agreed to in the terms and conditions, further elaborating upon the importance of online security and the need to scrutinise before agreeing to terms online. At this point it is important to note that iWits has retracted the offending clauses and that none of the entrants will be held liable. Luckily for them it was simply an awareness campaign… this time.

How did Namibia do?

Below details analytical information pulled from the awareness campaign, which is a clear indication that we as online users should place a higher degree of importance on our and our family’s online security.


As per the pie chart above, 83% of the entrants accepted the first “fake” terms and conditions without reading them. This means that they accepted and agreed to the three clauses mentioned above. Only a mere 3% of the entrants accepted the second terms and conditions, which means that they read both sets of terms and conditions. Congratulations to them! The remaining 14% of entrants decided to decline the terms and conditions and not enter the competition at all.

It was found that those entrants who did not read the terms and conditions took about 1 minute 7 seconds before accepting the terms; whereas those entrants who read the terms and conditions took about 9 minutes and 6 seconds before accepting the terms. Those additional 8 minutes ensured that they did not sign away their monthly income or property. This time was calculated from the time the entrant clicked on the register button until they clicked on the accept button.


Entrants were requested to provide their date of birth when entering the competition and according to that we found, the younger the entrants were far less likely than their older counter parts to read the terms and conditions. From this, it becomes evident that there is a great need for parents to start teaching their children from a young age about the importance of online security and reading anything that they are signing. When iWits discussed the competition with a fellow security enthusiast, it was mentioned that his father made him read terms and conditions as a child and then had him explain the terms back to him before continuing with whatever he wanted to do. While this might seem tedious way to approach the situation, it might be exactly what some children need.


All the entrants were divided into various industries based on the occupations they provided during the registration process. This data was then used to see which industries read the terms and conditions the most and which did not read the terms and conditions at all. These results were not at all what were expected:


The graph above illustrates the percentage of entrants from various industries who managed to successfully complete the scavenger hunt.

Enquiries received during the campaign period

During the campaign period, four individuals contacted iWits to enquire about the terms and conditions laid out in the competition. Two enquiries were received from Software programmers, one from a copywriter and another from a law student. The iWits team replied to the enquiries to explain the objective of the competitions / awareness campaign and after the explanations the responses received were extremely positive.

We would like to invite anyone who has more questions regarding the awareness campaign to contact us via our online contact form.


iWits would like to thank the following companies and individuals who assisted with the awareness campaign:

  • Pin-Up Jobs who provided online advertising space as well as shared the competition on their Facebook page;
  • Radio 99FM who provided on-air coverage to increase the exposure of the competition and shared it on their Facebook page;
  • Wayne Kirton who assisted in promoting the competition via Facebook as well as on his blog
  • Gabriel Nhinda who assisted by sharing the competition with his friends and family
  • Louis El-Seko Uisso who assisted by sharing the competition with his friends and family

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