They’re at it again then.
The politicians, despite being met with indifference over the wholesale filtering of domestic Internet connections, our right honourable overlords now wish to promote “good, clean, wi-fi” in public spaces.
Whatever the fuck that means. No porn, maybe? The conspiracy theory types will say this is just the thin end of the wedge for censorship. We could have all sorts of content considered ‘unclean’.
I’ve already discussed that providing wi-fi for public access can be hard, and this is a further obstacle. It’s unclear what the term “wi-fi provider” defines- it could be anything from the biggies like BT Openzone down to my local friendly garage or pub who have chucked a Netgear domestic router in for customers to use.
It’s a bit easier to do on a larger scale, with some enterprise-grade hardware and a subscription, but this costs thousands of pounds a year, and still isn’t 100% accurate.
The domestic routers a lot of small potential wi-fi providers use are the same sort of stuff we all use at home. Here’s my router’s filtering setup page:
It’s reliant on maintaining a list of dodgy sites and entering them. Other routers can block based on DNS hostnames, but this, once again, relies on manually keyed blacklists. This is not going to encourage the provision of free wif-fi if people have to stump up time and money, or face legal problems if they don’t.
Here’s a wild idea: if you’re a parent, talk to your kids about the content available on the Internet (the chances being, if they’re teenagers, they can probably teach you a thing or two). Don’t devolve parenting to tech, and if you really have to, do it on the device, where you have control.