Wednesday 3 August 2016

Public Wi-Fi hotspots and NAMs: Busting the many legal myths

Given the NAMs' dual roles of road-warrior and adviser to the retail trade, knowing the legal implications of using public wi-fi spots can help.

Nothing beats taking the time to read the full article by Ars Technica UK, but by way of encouragement, the following key points may whet your appetite:

-  "If there is no stated legitimate purpose for the processing of individual user information, the default position is that it must not be processed."

-  Some hotel Wi-Fi software records the URLs accessed by each guest (Held for legislative purposes, in case there’s a copyright breach or it’s requested by law enforcement or whatever).

-  Collecting and storing personal information brings responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), soon to be updated. The more data collected, and the further its purposes diverge from what’s strictly necessary to provide a service, the more responsibilities the collector incurs.

-  A user "cannot be obliged to accept something that isn’t a necessary part of the service, and they especially cannot be expected to accept marketing as part of something else."

Note: The article deals specifically with the legality of public wi-fi in the UK. The rules and laws can vary wildly in other countries around the world.

NB. The article also adds much useful detail - and relevant links - for retailers setting up and managing a public wi-fi spot, a useful addition to a NAM's advisory repertoire.

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