Public Wi-Fi: Legal Implications Your Business Needs To Be Aware Of

In today’s digital age, access to Wi-Fi is something customers expect, whether they are staying at a hotel, enjoying a bit of retail therapy, or getting their hair cut. The demand to be connected while on the move is never going to disappear. Consequently, more and more businesses are investing in guest Wi-Fi, and reaping the many rewards that come with this. Nevertheless, some business owners are overlooking one pivotal area, and this is legal compliance. With that being said, read on to discover more about the legal implications of offering public Wi-Fi that your business needs to be aware of.

1) Retaining Data

Firstly, we have data retention, which is the law under the 2009 Data Retention Regulations. This legislation was put in place to assist in detecting and preventing organised crime and terrorism. But, what does it mean for your business? Basically, you have to keep communications data for a minimum of 12 months. This relates to any type of data that has been processed or generated in the United Kingdom. You also need to store it in a manner that means it can be traced with ease, for example, you will need to keep records of date, time, duration, and such like.

2) Protecting Data

Not only do you need to retain data, but you need to take the necessary steps to protect it as well. This legislation is part of the Data Protection Act 1998. If you breach this, you can find yourself facing huge fines of up to £500,000. Under the Data Protection Act, it is your responsibility to ensure you protect personal data, including during transmission and while in storage. This involves following various organisational and technical measures, and you may also have to register with the Information Commissioners Office. Please note that if someone requests you to provide them with the personal data you have about them, you are legally bound to do so. You can do this in electronic format.

3) Dealing With Copyright

Last but not least, we have copyright infringement, which is something that is referred to in the Digital Economy Act 2010. Unfortunately, when people access your public Wi-Fi network, you are essentially responsible for what they do while on there. This is why you need to put measures in place to ensure you are doing everything to control this and minimise copyright infringement. If you don’t, you are essentially viewed as an accomplice to the crime they are committing. So, what do you need to do? Well, firstly, if you notice any form of copyright infringement, you must report it. You also need to follow the earlier step regarding data retention, as this ensures anyone that has accessed illegal material can be traced. Aside from this, you should implement clear terms and conditions, and making an effort to block various websites and material is advised.

Needless to say, this can seem a bit confusing and overwhelming if this is not an area your business specialises in. That is why it pays to choose a public Wi-Fi provider that is going to take care of compliance matters for you, giving you the peace of mind that everything is handled above board.