Purple WiFi launches Free Social WiFi, allowing venues of all sizes to take advantage of legally compliant WiFi without charge
Latest research reveals the majority of venues are not providing legally compliant WiFi, and are leaving networks open to criminal or terrorist use
November 25, 2013: Purple WiFi, the cloud-based Social WiFi software, has announced the launch of its free and legally compliant Social WiFi offering.
The launch comes on the back of new research covering 3,349 venues across the globe. Purple WiFi uncovered that while 82% believed they were legally compliant, most venues surveyed actually were not. 2048 venues confirmed that they were either running completely open networks, meaning anyone could access the network, or handing out a password, which indicates the venue has no way of tracking internet access back to the user. This leaves the network open to criminal or terrorist use without fear of tracking implications.
These elements are crucial for public WiFi legal compliance, which differs slightly by country in accordance with various local laws, but the main common premise is the ability to track activity on a network back to the user. For example, in the UK legislation for public WiFi includes the Data Protection act, European Directive for Data Retention Regulations 2009, the Code of Practice (Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001), Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Digital Economy Act 2010, for which the venues are liable.
In addition, the data reveals that 58% of the venues surveyed had no content filtering in place or didn't know if they did. This means explicit and illegal content can be accessed directly through the venue’s WiFi connection.
The industry has a responsibility to make sure that venues are aware of legal compliance issues, and WiFi providers should be ready to assist their customers to make sure they are doing what they can to comply with their country's legal acts.
Purple WiFi supports legal compliance as part of its free product, while content filtering is incorporated into its premium product, which is available at £25 per month. All free customers will enjoy the full benefits of the premium product for 30 days, which offers additional rich customer analytics and data, as well as advanced marketing capabilities to enhance revenue-generation opportunities.
Purple WiFi is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), and blocks all IWF blacklisted URLs. It also allows venues to block certain content – i.e. porn and illegal content, essential for public venues such as universities, hospitals and housing associations. To date, Purple WiFi has blocked up to 10% of URL requests for its content filtering customers, meaning this traffic is getting through at open content venues.
The service also allows companies to capitalise on the benefits of social networking. Purple WiFi ensures that anyone using the internet service within a public space such as a bar, cafe, restaurant or hotel, will be required to simply ‘like’ the relevant Facebook page or ‘tweet’ about their location to gain access.
Once connected, Purple WiFi serves demographic and engagement information from users to the venue through its Purple Portal, which allows the business to understand who is visiting and using the hotspot, how long they are online, as well as their age, gender and any other relevant information that they offer in their social networking profile.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO, Purple WiFi comments: “The international WiFi market is expected to be worth more than $93 billion by 2018, but it has offered little in the way of value for the venues that provide WiFi. Purple WiFi puts the power of WiFi back into the hands of the venue, with simple social authentication to keep customers happy, analytics and marketing functionality that enables the venue to better understand and target its customer base, and assistance with legal compliance for peace of mind.
“Customers expect free online access at venues and businesses wherever they are, and from today businesses can offer this service for free.”
Purple WiFi is cloud-based which means that it can work with practically any hardware and is scalable in terms of customer need and geographic location. It offers an alternative to existing WiFi services, putting the focus back on the business or venue, offering marketing tools and analytics to derive value from interactions with customers whilst providing a secure and independent channel for commercial use.