All Sections

Over half of free WiFi hotspots don’t filter adult content

Over half of the UK’s free WiFi access points do not filter out inappropriate content, a new report says. 

An investigation carried out by mobile security firm AdaptiveMobile found that 51 per cent of free hotspots allowed access to content “of an adult nature”.

AdaptiveMobile looked at WiFi filtering measures across the UK and found that nearly one in three (30 per cent) UK cafés and restaurants have no filtering in place to prevent children accessing pornography. In addition to pornographic websites a further one in five eating places failed to restrict customers from accessing online sex dating sites.

Credit: Marius/Flickr

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Parental Internet ControlsMystery shoppers in London, Manchester and Birmingham attempted to access inappropriate content including pornography, drug and violence-related websites. The investigation found that over half (53 per cent) of cafés and restaurants do not have any restrictions in place to block online stores selling knives and swords and four out of five (80 per cent) also granted full access to drug-related content.

The report examined filtering protocol across cafés, restaurants, hotels, retailers and public spaces. Hotels scored the worst out of the five categories, with three out of four (74 per cent) not blocking pornography and only one in ten actively blocking online weapons shops.

The research was conducted in parallel with a US investigation, the results of which showed that the problem there is far more severe. Three out of four (72 per cent) American cafés and restaurants have no restrictions on access to pornography; more than double than in the UK.

Government-owned property and public spaces such as train stations have the strongest defences. A comparatively high nine in ten (91 per cent) government sites restricted access to pornography. However, one in three government sites allowed granted full access to online weapons stores.