Posts Tagged ‘calea’

Secure WiFi is a MUST for Hotels & Multifamily Properties

November 29, 2012

On November 25, 2012 The Wall Street Journal published an article (referenced below) speaking of how police were able to find a man suspected of downloading child pornography  because he was using an unsecured network.  Ultimately,  part of the decision written by Judge Conti stated  “An internet subscriber does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his IP address or the information he provides to his Internet Service Provider, such as Comcast, in order to legally establish an internet connection, and likewise , a person connecting to another person’s wireless router does not have an expectation of privacy in that connection”.

A main technological concern for multifamily properties and hotel owners needs to be the security of their WiFi network.  When a property provides WiFi they become an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and are thus responsible for the Internet they provider.  Multifamily properties and hotels can lessen the burden by using a managed, secure and CALEA compliant WiFi provider to handle their network for them.

The WSJ article quotes numbers from a 2011 poll conducted by Wakefield Research and the trade association Wi-Fi Alliance that “32% of respondents said they had tried to get on a wireless nework that wasn’t theirs”.   Apartment buildings, shops, hotels, private homes, offices, etc. etc. are operating unsecured networks and leaving their residents, guests and patrons vulnerable to hacking and identity theft.  It is critical, now more than ever, that residential properties, hotels and business provide secure Wi-Fi at their locations.  It is equally important that Wi-Fi network users are aware of the type of network that they are on, whether secured or unsecured, and the level of privacy and security that the network provides.

Hotels and multifamily properties can opt to provide their buildlings with a UserSafe™ WiFi network as opposed to an “open” network.  A UserSafe™ network guards users from hacking and identity theft, ensures privacy and is CALEA compliant.  CALEA compliance takes the WiFi network responsibility from the property by incorporating a full network management aspect.

Wall Street Journal Article:


Google to surrender data collected over unsecured networks

June 4, 2010
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The New York Times reported today that, despite earlier refusals, Google has now agreed to turn over data that was collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks while taking snapshots for Google Street View.  Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, will share the collected personal data with officials in Germany, Spain and France.  The data collected over unsecured networks is said to contain snapshots of personal information including emails, bank account numbers, etc.  Schmidt said in a Thursday interview in London, that he also plans to “make public the results of internal and external audits of its Wi-Fi data collection practices” (NYT).

Despite the European outrage over the Wi-Fi data collection issue, the U.S. seems to be a lot less disgruntled over the situation.  While the FCC is taking a look at the issue, there is an obvious difference in the reaction of the U.S.  There have been a few lawsuits filed against Google in the U.S., with one judge in Oregon in giving Google 10 days (from 6/3) to hand over data collected over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.  However, the U.S does seem considerably less upset with Google, from an official standpoint.

From all bad, however, comes good and I think that it is important to look at what we have learned from the Google situation.  Wi-Fi network security is extreamly important.  I can pick up at least one unsecured network from one of my Wi-Fi enabled devices, most of the time.  Free “hotspots” in cafes, stores and even hotels can be unsecure and not properly monitored.  Not only is Wi-Fi networks security important to protect our personal data, but it has also become important as goverments find it necessary to begin to create laws and issue levels of responsibility to owners and operators of Wi-Fi networks.

Look at Germany, for example.  They recently passed litigation that will hold operators of unsecured Wi-Fi networks responsible for what occurs on that network (such as illegal downloading).  Take CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act – read more) in the U.S.  This law places an enormous amount of responsibility on the owners/ operators of Wi-Fi networks.  So as Wi-Fi becomes the primary use for telecommunication and mobile networking, goverments are going to tighten up restrictions on what is acceptable and what network security is necessary.  So, not only is in important to protect our personal information, but network owners and operators of Wi-Fi hotspots need to be concerned about security as well.

Spot On’s Wi-Fi networks use the highest standards of security to protect your personal information.  So, a situation like Google StreetView sniffing personal data cannot happen with Spot On’s network.  On our network, we do not allow a computer to talk to another computer.  In the instance of StreetView – a personal computer, over an unsecured Wi-Fi network had the ability to talk to the StreetView car – on a Spot On Network, the user computer can talk to the Internet, but is blocked from being able to talk to another computer… thus, information over our Wi-Fi network can never be sniffed out.  Read more about our security.

As for owners and operators of Wi-Fi hotspots – we urge you to become familiar with CALEA and what it means for your level of responsibility.  If you are self-operating a Wi-Fi networks, that is, you have a router and are offering Wi-Fi as amenity… you need to be aware of your responsibility for what occurs over your network and who accesses your networks.  Spot On Wi-Fi networks take that responsibility off our your back.  We are fully CALEA Compliant and monitor our network so that your Wi-Fi network is legal.  Not sure if you are CALEA Compliant?  Contact us for more information and we can help to access the security of your Wi-Fi network, whether you are a small cafe offering free Wi-Fi for a large-scale high-rise apartment building.

All in all, we can learn a lot from the Google situation – it is important that we are aware and responsibile for the security of our Wi-Fi networks, not only for our personal networks – but for when we are providing Wi-Fi for others.

German Wi-Fi laws similar to CALEA in U.S.

May 18, 2010

I just read Glenn Fleishman’s article on a recent ruling by the German court, Bundesgerichsthof (the highest civil & criminal court).  Aparently, back in 2006, a user downloaded a song, illegally, from a 3rd party operated Wi-Fi Hotspot and the case has been in the courts ever since.  Of course, this is illegal copyright infringement.  That begs the question, who exactly is responsible: the 3rd party doing the illegal downloading or the owner of the unsecured Wi-Fi network on which the downloading has taken place?  Interesting, huh?  Many would be quick to say “well, obviously the person doing the illegal Wi-Fi downloading is the only one who is liable – they are the ones committing the crime”. While that is partially true – it’s not entirely true (in Germany or the U.S., for that matter – the latter of which I will get to below).  In the recent ruling by the Bundesgerichsthof German Wi-Fi network owners are required to protect their Wi-Fi networks or face a small fine.  Now the encryption doesn’t have to be fancy, because as Fleishman said in his article: “even WEP, though it’s easily broken, would qualify because then the third party would have to break into the network (a fairly severe crime in Germany since 2007), making the access point’s owner not liable.”

We haven’t addressed CALEA in awhile – so here it goes: How does this bring about the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)?  Well, for starters, many Wi-Fi Hotspot operators are not aware of their government responsibility when operating a Wi-Fi hotspot.  Simply, and for the technologically faint-of-heart, the CALEA act requires that goverment agencies have access to tapping your phone (*yikes*, right?). Well, enter the digital age. In 2004, those agencies began to realize that traditional phone tapping methods were more difficult, expensive and sometimes not even possible with digital communications. In 2005, the government began to include “communications that pass over the internet” as subject to tapping  (Don’t worry, this IS going somewhere).  So if someone is utilizing your Wi-Fi network for illegal activity OR the FBI needs to obtain information on that individual – guess who has the responsibility of getting that information for the FBI?  The Wi-Fi Network operator.  That’s right.

Many Wi-Fi network operators are not aware of this fact, they do not even know what CALEA Compliance is, or that it applies to a Wi-Fi Network.  Many would state “if someone is doing something illegal on my network – that is their faulty” – which is true, but it is also the responsibility of the network operator to be able to provide information about that 3rd party.  Interesting, isn’t it.  At Spot On Networks, we are fully CALEA compliant – that is to say, we operate your network and are in fully compliance with the government’s standards for being able to provide them with any information that they may need, if that instance were to arise.  Our networks are fully secure and we would stress that it is of utmost importance that a Wi-Fi network operator (especially one that is currently deploying their own unsecured network in a building, hotel, cafe, etc) be aware what CALEA is and what their Wi-Fi network responsibilities are.

What’s CALEA all about?

December 28, 2009

CALEA: It’s an important topic. You may have heard about it and are wondering what old phone taps have to do with Wi-Fi.    The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act was passed in 1994.  Simply, and for the technologically faint-of-heart, the CALEA act requires that goverment agencies have access to tapping your phone (*yikes*, right?).  Well, enter the digital age.  In 2004, those agencies began to realize that traditional phone tapping methods were more difficult, expensive and sometimes not even possible with digital communications.  In 2005, the government began to include “communications that pass over the internet” as subject to tapping.

If you own or manage a hotel, restaurant, condo complex, etc. and provide Wi-Fi – you MUST read this! Having a network on your property that is CALEA compliant can save you time, money and a lot of aggravation.  If your not providing you Wi-Fi as amenity – you should!  Wi-Fi (especially with the Smartphone revolution) is quickly becoming the most important amenitity to have…anywhere.   Find out more.

Learn more about CALEA from Oliver Oetter here.