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Free open WiFi boon for porn, terrorists and criminals, says Purple WiFi

WiFi hotspots that are free and open could abet terrorists and fall foul of the law, according to a recent survey by Purple WiFi. 

The survey of 3,349 venues across the world showed that 68.8 per cent of venues didn’t have any way of collecting user details, making it hard to track customers engaging in illegal activity. 

The majority of venues (58 per cent) also didn’t come with content filters, meaning that customers could access explicit and illegal content through the venue’s WiFi connection. 

Free open WiFi boon for porn, terrorists and criminals, says Purple WiFi
If you like it then you should’ve put a password on it

Read Recombu Digital’s guides to Parental Internet Controls and WiFiVenues which don’t properly secure their WiFi are liable for prosecution under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) DEA (Digital Economy Act 2010) in the UK. 

RIPA requires operators of public WiFi networks to retain indentifying information for a minimum of 12 months and no longer than 2 years. Similarly, the DEA requires operators of public WiFi hotspots to keep records of who uses the network. 

Purple WiFi’s findings arrive in the wake of similar research from AdaptiveMobile, which shows that around 51 per cent of UK free hotspots did not filter adult content. 

This is despite popular providers like The Cloud and BT, which provide free WiFi in train stations and Starbucks cafes, installing adult content filters. 

Virgin Media’s London Underground WiFi network comes with filtering build in as standard and as does O2 WiFi, which supplies coffee chain Costa with WiFi. All of these public WiFi solutions require customers to register or log in, meaning customer activity can be monitored. 

Purple WiFi says that its cloud-based system lets customers log in with social media accounts. This makes identifying and monitoring customers using the network easy as well as making easier for customers to log in. Venues and businesses with their own WiFi solutions can use of Purple WiFi’s free system with the option of adding content filtering for £25/month. 

Ealier this year, David Cameron called for all public WiFi hotspots in the UK to filter adult content by default. 

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