WiFi Regulations For Businesses
Offering guest Wi-Fi is a great way to attract more customers and ultimately increase revenue. However, there are regulations that you need to follow, otherwise you could find yourself facing fines and other serious consequences. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to outline all of the requirements you must adhere to.
The laws you need to abide by in relation to guest WiFi are as follows:
- Data Retention (EU Directive) Regulations 2009
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Digital Economy Act 2010
A breakdown of what is expected from you under these three regulations:
One of the main reasons why the Data Retention Regulations 2009 were set up was to assist in the detection and prevention of terrorism and organised crime.
Under UK law, you are required to retain data for a minimum of 12 months from the date of the communication in question. This applies to all data that is generated or processed in the UK.
Legislation outlines the correct method for the identification of communication data, so that all acts can be traced. Therefore, it is vital to store your data in the proper manner, i.e. keeping records of time, date, destination, type, and duration.
The Data Protection Act 1998 makes it a legal requirement for all businesses to have security measures in place to protect personal data when they are storing or transmitting data about any individuals.
If an individual requests the personal information you have stored about them, you are required to provide them with the data in an electronic format. It is an offence not to do so.
A serious breach of the Data Protection Act can result in a fine of up to £500,000.
Please note that a new EU data protection regulation is currently being negotiated by EU member states, and a projected delivery date is the end of 2015. Thus, we can expect increased levels of data protection requirements to come into place in the near future.
Providers of Internet services are obligated to notify their subscriber when a report of a copyright infringement is made under the Digital Economy Act 2010.
It is vital to be aware of the fact that you are responsible for those surfing on your Wi-Fi network. Therefore, if someone downloads a copyrighted film on your Wi-Fi network, for example, you will be responsible for this, unless you can provide a list of people that were using your Wi-Fi at the time. Experienced solicitors can help you build a case for this. This highlights why monitoring and data retention are imperative.
If you do not adhere to the copyright infringement regulations that are outlined in the Digital Economy Act, you could find yourself facing hefty fines. After all, if someone illegally downloads content off your network, you are seen as an accomplice to the crime for failing to monitor your network usage effectively.
Of course, it can, in a lot of cases, be impossible to control what your users access. However, you need to show that you have taken significant steps to prevent copyright infringement, for instance, by making all users register in order to access the Internet and making them agree to clear terms and conditions concerning Wi-Fi usage.
The final thing you need to concern yourself with is illegal activity. This is one of the most serious offences, yet it is a lot less common than copyright infringement. Nevertheless, this does not stop a small portion of people using the web to pursue illegal activities, such as terrorism, hacking, and child pornography, and, unfortunately, this is something we seem to be hearing a lot more of.
Your business can be held responsible if the person committing this illegal activity used your Wi-Fi network, unless you are able to identify them, which is why data retention is imperative. You need to be able to trace every person that uses your network.