“Friendly ” WiFi gets off the ground in the UK

 

I know I have written about this before but last week something that was going to happen, finally did.

On 17th July Britain became the first country in the world to roll out a national scheme which informs members of the public that the wifi being offered in this or that shop, coffee bar or other establishment, or on this or that train or bus, in a  municipal Lesiure Centre, park or whatever, is Friendly because it has got filters installed which block access to porn sites and web addresses known to contain child abuse images.

The UK’s main WiFi providers have signed up to the scheme although some are blocking additional types of adult content, over and above the basic minimum described above.

Thus, if a business wants to offer wifi to their customers and it goes through one of the main providers it will be supplied with  a filtered service by default.

If a business does not want any filtering they can either find another supplier or they can ask for the filtering to be modified. Obviously in either case they will not be able to use the Friendly logo (see below) to advertise their compliance with the scheme.

Obviously no wifi supplier will agree to lift the block on child abuse sites but the porn filter could be made to vanish. It is anticipated  that only businesses  operating in an overwhelmingly adult environment e.g. nightclubs and casinos, are likely to be interested in such a possibility but it is there.

The organization that is administering the scheme – the  Registered Digital Institute –  has developed a neat little logo that will appear in shop windows and the like to indicate that the wifi service being provided conforms to the minimum standard. It is to be hoped that it will quickly become recognized by parents and other discriminating internet users and they will either go into the shop or coffee bar, or not, based on whether or not the logo is visible, and that will act as an incentive for a great many  businesses to sign up. Here is what it looks like

 

friendly wifi

 

Tesco is one of the first big brands to get behind the Friendly WiFi idea. That’s a very good start. Lots of people will be watching how this works out. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About John Carr

John Carr is a member of the Executive Board of the UK Council on Child Internet Safety, the British Government's principal advisory body for online safety and security for children and young people. In the summer of 2013 he was appointed as an adviser to Bangkok-based ECPAT International. Amongst other things John is or has been a Senior Expert Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, a member of the Executive Board of the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. More: http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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