Cathedral takes action following worries that public Wi-Fi network might be used to access explicit content
Canterbury Cathedral is implementing blocks on its new Wi-Fi network in order to prevent visitors from using it to access explicit content such as pornography.
The venue, a World Heritage site founded more than 1,400 years ago, is teaming up with Purple WiFi, whose cloud software allows organisations to block certain types of content, following concerns that visitors might misuse a free Wi-Fi network in its newly-opened Cathedral Café.
‘”We have been offering a Wi-Fi service for our Cathedral Lodge clients and customers for a while, but this is an internally managed system,” explains David Tunbridge, IT Manager of Canterbury Cathedral.
“However, this system has never been made available to the public and although it works well for us, it requires a fair bit of administration, which is why we have been looking at alternatives for public Wi-Fi access in our new Cathedral Café which opens on 20 February. Family-friendly access and legal compliance are very high on our list of priorities.”
The decision comes as part of the lease agreement with the operators of the cafe, in which the cathedral specifies that the holy grounds should not be used for any anti-Christian activities. However, the new blocks will not be able to stop visitors from accessing forbidden content through the mobile networks on their personal devices.
Public Wi-Fi is spreading across the UK as more and more of the population gets connected via mobile devices. Recent research from Cisco estimates that the global mobile network will increase three times as fast as global fixed traffic, helped primarily by an increase in the number of mobile device users worldwide, which will rise to 4.9 billion by 2018.
The number of mobile data connections will total more than 10 billion by 2018, eight billion of which will be personal mobile devices.
“People expect free online access at public venues and businesses wherever they are. But the industry has a responsibility to make sure that these venues are aware of legal compliance issues,” said Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple WiFi. “At Purple WiFi, we make sure our venue customers can be safe in the knowledge that their WiFi is secure and meets industry best practice.”
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