Public WI-FI and your Business.
Are you meeting your obligations about the WIFI you’re providing to your
With the demanding for wifi on the move there are requirements you
should be aware of to keep your business from being sued or you as a business
owner being arrest for breaking the law.
Depending on your setup for how you provide Free WI-FI to you customers will help prevent such issues. Free WI-FI is not just opening up your router to have no security settings on it and let anyone use it; this can lead to problems both for you and your customer.
To help minimize legal issues you should be aware of:
A) DATA RETENTIONS (EC Directive) Regulations 2009.
These Regulations were enacted to implement an EU Directive into UK law, to assist with the prevention and detection of organised crime and terrorism by compelling communication service providers to retain certain communications information, including Internet USER Data.
The Regulation place an obligation on “public communications providers” to retain certain user data generated or process in the UK for 12 months from the data of the communication in question. The definition of a”public communication provider” includes Public WIFI providers, however the Regulation only apply if they have been served a notice by the Secretary of State.
Note that the Secretary of State must serve the notice to all providers unless the data in question is already retained by another provider in the UK under these regulations.
B) Data Protection Obligation.
As with the Data Retention Regulations, Public WI-FI providers need to be aware of the Obligations under the Data Protections Act 1998 (DPA 1998). Because of user registration you will come under the DPA 1998, so storage and handling of this information much be secure and handled with care.
The DPA 1998 governs all use of personal data, including its storage and transmissions also you are required to register with the Information Commission. If you fail to comply with the Data protection Act you can be liable to a fine up to £500,000.
C) Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA2010) Online copyright infringement.
This is designed to combat online copyright infringement as part of the Communication Act 2003 which makes “Internet Service Provider” (ISP’s) have the obligation to notify user of any infringement of copyright. Also ISP’s will apply other restrictions including reduction of speeds.
In 2012, OfCom revised the DEA 2012 which made WI-FI provider sit outside this due the cost to the provider as they would have less than 400,000 subscribers, so this would be one thing to look out for.
In conclusion it would be necessary for you as a business providing Free Public WI-FI to publish a Policy and Terms & Conditions for the end user to sign up to which will help minimize your liability and make the end user aware of their responsibilities when using Public WI-FI.
And another thing is consider using a WI-FI provider other than just opening up your wireless network to you customers. WI-FI hotspot finders can be found on Mobile Phone company sites and through Searches on the internet.
If you’re not sure about using public WI-FI why not switch it off on your mobile and just use your Data minutes, this is more secure and you will be avoid WI-FI tracking software also consider switch off your GPS to hide your location when posting to social media websites.