Have you eagerly logged into your favorite website, only to be asked if you’re a human or a robot?
If you’ve mindlessly clicked on it without knowing what it means, you’re not alone.
And now two Australian radio presenters have revealed what really happens when you click the ‘I’m not a robot’ box – and the findings are a little more complex than you might think.
Presenters Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald, 46, and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli, 43, went to TikTok to explain the mystery behind the ‘I’m not a robot’ button, as revealed in a 2020 episode of the BBC’s Quite Interest game show.
Australian presenters Ryan ‘Ftzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli took to TikTok to explain the mystery behind the ‘I am not a robot’ button
Once you are asked to tick the box ‘I am not a robot’ – if you press it your data will be collected at the same time
In a mini clip from the show, presenter Sandi Toksvig shared her knowledge on the subject with comedians Alan Davies, Maisie Adams and Holly Walsh.
The “I am not a robot” checkbox is called a CAPTCHA – an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart” – and when you check the box, your data is collected at the same time.
The system allows web hosts to distinguish between human and automated access to websites – and after checking the box, the website is asked to check your browsing history.
Wippa said on TikTok, “What I didn’t realize is if you click I’m not a robot — which is what it actually does when you hit that button — they’re collecting data at the same time.”
“Ticking the box is not the point. It’s how you behaved before ticking the box being analyzed,” he added.
And in a short clip from the QI show, Sandy explained: “In general, you check the box and the website will ask to check your browsing history.”
“So let’s say just before checking the box you watched a few cat videos, liked a tweet about Greta Thunberg.”
“You checked your Gmail account before you started work. All that makes them think you must be human.’
“If you click I’m not a robot, you’re essentially instructing the site to look at your data and decide for itself.”
The reveal was unearthed during the BBC’s Quite Interest game show in 2020, where presenter Sandi Toksvig shared her knowledge on the subject
Sandi’s revelation left the panelists in a complete state of shock, as did the podcast duo, who were visibly stunned back on TikTok.
Fitzy said, “Let me get this right, if you click I’m not a robot, it can go through your history.”
And finally, Wippa added, “Yeah, you say it’s fine ‘go see what I’ve been looking at’ – I had no idea.”
The group wasn’t alone in shock, as more than 3,000 people took to the post to contest what “I’m not a robot” actually means.
The video has since been viewed six million times and has garnered more than 500,000 likes.
One person asked, “I honestly thought it was your mouse movement.”
More than 3,000 people took to the TikTok video to contest what “I’m not a robot” really means (pictured)
Another said, ‘No. Check your mouse movement before checking the box. Script, AI and robots are predictable versus human movement.’
A third said, “It has nothing to do with history, but it checks the mouse movement from its original state to the box (target) and compares it to a bot (straighter line than people).”
In addition, many were alarmed by the invasive tactics and questioned whether the CAPTCHA box was legal.
“It feels like an invasion of privacy to be honest,” said one.
“It’s against my rights as a person,” said another.
And one said, “That feels illegal.”