Businesses providing guest or public WiFi to customers should consider any legal and security implications before doing so.

When researching the subject of guest WiFi law, we were informed by a tech giant in 2015 that offering WiFi to the public requires guest information to be stored for 12 months. This is to ensure data can be made available to the police or security agencies, if it’s required. However, we have since discovered this may be incorrect and that the recording and storing of data may not be a legal requirement.

The subject of guest wireless law is a complicated grey area that is changing and has many conflicting reports.

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Public wifi Laws

There are three main legislation’s we were told UK small businesses should be aware of when offering public WiFi, these include:

1. Data Retention Regulations (2009) – which is unlikely to effect SMB’s

This legislation was brought in to help law enforcement agencies investigate criminal and terrorist activities. Under this law a “public communications provider” must retain key Wi-Fi user data for 12 months. This includes the name and address, user ID, login and log off dates and times, IP address, MAC address and type of internet service used.

Public WiFi providers come under the category of “public communications provider” but the Secretary of State must inform them in writing if they come under the remit of the regulations.

2. Digital Economy Act (2010)

Although it’s primarily aimed at ISPs to stop on-line copyright infringement such as piracy and illegal downloads, public WiFi providers may fall into the remit of this act.

It’s very difficult for a small business to police the internet of all Wi-Fi users but there is onus on providers to try to prevent piracy and copyright infringement by displaying clear terms and conditions for use of their service.

3. Data Protection Act – soon to be replaced by GDPR

The UK’s Data Protection Act has a requirement for the secure processing and storage of any personal information collected with sufficient steps to prevent any misuse of it. Therefore, if your business is collecting guest user data, this in itself has legal implications.

The Solution – Guest-Air!

Fortunately Dell in collaboration with GuestAir are offering a cost effective, secure solution combining a Dell SonicWALL router with GuestAir’s cloud solution. GuestAir cloud is a guest wireless management service designed to work with industry leading Dell SonicWALL routers to provide visitors with reliable and secure access.

guestairguest wifiA Dell SonicWALL router using GuestAir can automatically capture relevant details of guest Wi-Fi users, record usage and hold data while providing data compliance. It filters web content to ensure safe browsing and protection against viruses. The GuestAir service provides full customisation, with a landing page that allows visitors to register details before accessing the wireless guest network. The landing page can be updated with marketing content and adverts with all data stored securely in a management portal.

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If your business is interested the pricing of a Dell SonicWALL router and the GuestAir service please contact us for more info. SonicWALL routers come in many different models with ‘one off’ or monthly subscription purchase options. The GuestAir service is a yearly subscription and the cost is based on the number of concurrent guest Wi-Fi connections you need.

Fentons are happy to help with any technical questions you have regarding public Wi-Fi and Dell security solutions.