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Is your public Wi-Fi Legal?

Wi_Fi_logoDid you know that there are several laws surrounding Public WiFi access?

It is a legal requirement for businesses that provide a guest or public Wi-Fi service to keep records of all users and the sites they’ve accessed. This information must be kept for 12 months and made available to the police or security agencies when required. The storage of the information is subject to UK data protection law and needs to be held in a secure encrypted location.

Safe web filtering is also a legal requirement to protect minors being exposed to explicit content.

If you are not aware of this and are currently letting any member of the public access the internet that you pay for, then you are putting yourself and your company at risk. Say for example you receive a letter in the post saying you have been accessing highly illegal content through your broadband and been involved in illegal activities, how are you able to prove that it wasn’t you? You will need the time, date, IP, name of the user, MAC address and whatever else is required to prove that it was a member of the public and not yourself.

How do I ensure that my WiFi hotspot service is legal?

Firstly check with your broadband provider that you are able to provide public Wi-Fi from your connection. You will often need to make sure you are on a business broadband package as most domestic packages state in their terms and conditions for personal use only.

Once you’re broadband provider has confirmed that you can use your connection for public WiFi the next this is making sure that your service is compliant with the Laws surrounding public Wi-Fi. The easiest way to make sure your’re compliant is to purchase a Wireless Access Point that is designed to provide public Wi-Fi; these often come as an all-in-one solution that has the ability to record your users details before they connect and insure that this information is kept encrypted so only you have access to the information should a situation arise. Many of these units also offer web filtering options to make sure that your Wi-Fi isn’t being used to download illegal content and protect children from accessing adult websites.

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