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Starbucks in China Displays Their Wi-Fi Terms of Service Only as a PNG Image File.

Apparently, Starbucks in China doesn’t want you to save a copy of the wi-fi Terms of Service you agree to — it’s available only as a PNG image file, embedded in a vertically scrollable cell in an HTML table layout:

You can’t copy the text to your clipboard, or save it somewhere (say, for comparing with later versions to see if their Terms of Service changed). And what do you do if you have poor or no vision and rely on a screenreader?

Is it even legally binding (in China) to agree to an online contract that isn’t represented as text? Or is that a distinction programmers would make but lawyers never would?

See the top-level portal HTML page [1] for the full glory. This is from the Starbucks on the outdoor second level of the Hai An Cheng Mall in Shenzhen, on 1 June 2016.

Unrelatedly, in the page source, note the “var temp = url.length;” and the subsequent failure to actually use the temp variable in the loop control or anywhere else.

I’m not sure which bothers me more, the unparseable ToS text or the sloppy coding. Okay, that’s not true — I am sure: the unparseable ToS text. This is supposed to be a contract, but only one side actually has the text. Come on, Starbucks. If the issue is worries about the Chinese characters displaying correctly in all browsers, then present the PNG image for display but still provide the text as an underlay, so that it can be saved as text.

Here’s the full ToS image:

Starbucks Shenzhen (Hai An Cheng) Wi-Fi Terms of Service, as of 2016-06-01