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'Wi-Fi Police' Stalk Olympic Games 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-may-only-reflect-light-of-permitted-frequencies dept.
schwit1 writes with news from London that Olympic venues are being patrolled by so-called "Wi-Fi police," who seek out and shut down unauthorized access points and hotspots. BT is the "official communications services provider" for the Games, so access points other than the ones they set up or approve have been disallowed. A picture tweeted from the Olympics shows a gentleman carrying a portable direction antenna that can localize sources of transmission and interference. "One possible aim of shutting down such WiFi access points is to cut down on interference with essential wireless communications being used by those refereeing, reporting on and working at the sporting events. ... The news of the WiFi crackdown has angered many of those following the Games online, who were already upset at Olympic authorities' attempts to limit the use of social networking tools at the Games at certain times. The London Olympics had been billed as the first 'social media Games,' but organizers have been accused of bungling the effort to seamlessly integrate popular technologies like Twitter and Facebook into the event."
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'Wi-Fi Police' Stalk Olympic Games

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  • Fox hunt? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ksevio (865461) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:53AM (#40867413) Homepage

    If I were in the area, I'd be tempted to set up a few of the old linksys routers that cut out now and then in strange places (just powered, not networked).

    Make it a little more challenging for them to find the real "WiFi Offenders"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:54AM (#40867433)
    They're trying to cut down on interference, with the large volume of people at these things, is this not reasonable?
    • by geogob (569250) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:18AM (#40867705)

      It may be so, but I have serious doupt about the legallity of this action in light of RF frequency allocation and usage rules. If it is an open and unregulated band for wifi, BT has not right what so ever to ask someone to turn of an access point. If they claim the said access point causes interference on their equipement, which is unlikely for certified devices, they can fill a claim through the proper channels. I doupt running, chansing access points, is the proper channel.

      • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:54AM (#40868137)

        They are chasing down the devices in the venues. Why wouldn't that be legal? You can be restricted from doing all sorts of things in the venues (or any other private property) that are perfectly legal elsewhere.

        • Then the laws of the UK or England must differ from the laws of the United States with respect to whether or not federal unlicensed spectrum regulations trump state trespassing laws. See previous Slashdot stores about FCC rulings: 1 [slashdot.org] 2 [slashdot.org]
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by bws111 (1216812)

            US spectrum rules say that you can't interfere with transmissions (ie no signal jamming). They don't say anything implying that you are allowed to operate a device on someone else's private property. I doubt that rules anywhere else are much different from that. You wouldn't think it legal for a HAM operator to erect some giant antenna in the venue just because he has a license to use spectrum, would you?

            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              >>>They don't say anything implying that you are allowed to operate a device on someone else's private property.

              You _____. Are you too lazy to even LOOK at the links the grandparent poster provided??? QUOTE LINK: "fcc-nixes-airports-ban-on-private-net-access". In other words private property owners like airports can NOT ban the use of private net access.

              • by bws111 (1216812)

                No, I am not too lazy to read it, but apparently you are too stupid. The airport thing was a STATE GOVERNMENT trying to enact a rule regulating spectrum use. States do not have the authority to do that, hence why the article is talking about jurisdiction. Furthermore, the airlines in question were leaseholders in the airport, and their leases had no such restrictions on WiFi use. Being a leaseholder means that the space is theirs to do with as they please, within the boundaries of the lease.

                The airpo

      • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:05AM (#40868261) Homepage

        I have serious doupt about the legallity of this action in light of RF frequency allocation and usage rules. If it is an open and unregulated band for wifi, BT has not right what so ever to ask someone to turn of an access point.

        Ofcom was certainly interested in this. In it's 2009 publication "The Spectrum Plan for the London 2012 Games," Ofcom said:

        4.91 Certain equipment may be exempted in the UK from the requirement to be licensed under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 because its use is not likely to cause harmful interference. Experience from past Games has shown, however, that the unusual concentration of such equipment in particular venues can create the potential for localised harmful interference.

        4.92 We are exploring with LOCOG how such use can best be controlled and/or coordinated to avoid any disruption to the smooth running of the London 2012 Games. Practical measures (e.g. preventing certain types of equipment from being brought into London 2012 Games venues or actively coordinating use between users) have proved successful at past Games.

        4.93 The Met Office raised concerns in its response about the need to protect the use of its radars and the importance of the information provided by these radars to the London 2012 Games. Ofcom will carry out a detailed study of the protection of meteorological radars from WLANs and will consider how WLAN use can best be controlled and/or coordinated to avoid any disruption to the meteorological radars.

        It also appears, from the same document that the Vancouver Games took a slightly different approach:

        4.95 During the Vancouver Games, VANOC will be providing both wired and, in certain high-traffic locations such as the Olympic and Paralympic Villages, the MPC and the Media Centre, WLAN Internet services. Within Olympic Net Zone wireless hotspots, use of personal WLAN routers will not be permitted. Use of WLAN routers will be permitted in designated locations outside these Zones. Anyone bringing in their own WLAN services will have to use the 5000 MHz band and the 802.11a networking standard. They will not be able to use the 2400 MHz band (802.11 b/g/n) or selected channels at 5000 MHz (802.11 a/n). VANOC will stipulate the SIDH and channel assignment.

        The Wireless Telegraphy (Control of Interference from Apparatus) (The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Regulations 2012 [legislation.gov.uk] were certainly part of the legal basis for tackling interference, but these regulations are limited to interference with wireless communications for public safety purposes:

        Regulation 5(1):

        The requirement is that between 26th July 2012 and 10th September 2012 apparatus must when in use operate at a sufficiently low intensity of electromagnetic energy such that it does not cause undue interference with wireless telegraphy used for public safety purposes within a protection area.

        I've yet to find the basis on which Wi-Fi interference is verboten, but I would have thought there's a document out there somewhere...

        • In it's

          Oop's*

          *intentional, this time...

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          Wifi interference is not prohibited, operating Wifi devices on their private property is. Two completely different things.

          • Wifi interference is not prohibited, operating Wifi devices on their private property is. Two completely different things.

            I agree with you completely. Looking at what Ofcom wrote a couple of years back, I was under the impression that particularly rules were to be drawn up on this, rather than relying on the exclusionary right of a property owner, but this may well not be the case.

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          There is a difference in saying "you can't have your wifi hotspot on because you are breaking xyz law" and saying "you can't have your wifi hotspot on without being escorted off premises without the ability to re-enter." Just like it's not illegal to possess and use a recording device in plain sight when capturing images that are also in plain sight, but if you do it at certain venues where they ask you not to, and you don't have a press pass, you will be tossed out. House rules trump the law.

      • by Minwee (522556)

        It may be so, but I have serious doupt about the legallity of this action in light of RF frequency allocation and usage rules.

        This is in England. The police can arrest people for being too tall [theregister.co.uk], so why should they let something silly like laws or rights get in the way?

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:55AM (#40867445)

    Anyone not eating official McDonalds food--prepare for an ass whipping!

    --
    This post brought to you by Carl's, Jr. Fuck you, I'm eating!

    • Anyone eating official Taco Bell food--prepare for an ass wiping!

      • Poor donkey. Guess it works similar to the "if you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog" magazine cover.

    • Anyone not eating official McDonalds food--prepare for an ass whipping!

      It's all about the Olympic Games - a nearly ancient past-time that we all value dearly. We're honoring the games by policing stupid shit!

      We do nothing but good.

      </snark>

      • The modern olympics date to 1894, they're hardly ancient. Personally I'd prefer a return to the original, all athletes compete naked, top prize is a laurel leaf crown, and there's a poetry competition.

        The City Of London 2012 MacDonalds BT Coca Cola Official Olympic Games (TM) have turned out to be a huge exercise in making money for the sponsors while screwing over the athletes (who aren't allowed to display the logos of the sponsors who have supported them for years) and the local businesses who have
  • BT Wifi Fees (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:56AM (#40867455)

    BT offers paid hotspots, through BT WiFi (£5.99 for 90 minutes, £9.99 for 24 hours, £26.99 for five days), except for BT home customers and customers of mobile carriers which have sharing agreements with BT (O2 and Tesco Mobile). For anyone else, vouchers can be bought from kiosks at Olympic parks, BT told GigaOM.

    • by Pax681 (1002592)

      BT offers paid hotspots, through BT WiFi (£5.99 for 90 minutes, £9.99 for 24 hours, £26.99 for five days), except for BT home customers and customers of mobile carriers which have sharing agreements with BT (O2 and Tesco Mobile). For anyone else, vouchers can be bought from kiosks at Olympic parks, BT told GigaOM.

      and Vodafone too ;)

    • They are worried that free hotspots would interfere with their Wifi Monopoly inside the stadium.

      Nothing to see here.... The police are protecting the interests of the powers that be. Please pay us the 5.99 and only post how totally awesome and great the venue is today.

    • Except for BT customers who have turned off the open access on their home routers, they're not allowed to use hotspots. Who wants to be held legally responsible for traffic through their home router when it's being accessed by the stranger in the car outside your house?
  • Short translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:56AM (#40867467) Homepage

    "We want more money."

    Actually, a good portion of human activity can be explained by that simple phrase. In this case, it's about enforcing rules guaranteeing BT certain amounts of money.

    • Re:Short translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:16AM (#40867675)

      yup, so true. One of our more respected news shows interviewed Coe (the olympic head organiser) and asked awkward questions like "so if someone turns up wearing a Pepsi tshirt, will they be allowed entry?" eventually [politics.co.uk] they got an answer of "yes but only if its not obviously organised" - ie no crowdsourcing some non-coke advertising.

      Reminds me of the Bavaria Babes (where brewer Bavaria gave bright orange dresses to a few ladies to go to a football match that was officially sponsored by rival Heineken), and the ban on Heineken's response of a helmet. [www.rnw.nl]

      Frankly, its getting a bit silly when you have to ask if you can wear what you want to an event, and equally silly when the marketing people hijack that with a publicity stunt. But the most stupid is when a group of select sponsors get to take over the entire event in the first place.

    • by jimbolauski (882977) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:28AM (#40867807) Journal

      "We want more money."

      Actually, a good portion of human activity can be explained by that simple phrase. In this case, it's about enforcing rules guaranteeing BT certain amounts of money.

      BT paid to be the sole wifi provider of the Olympic games and at Olympic Venues, if the Venues are private property they have done nothing wrong, just as a home owner has the right throw someone off their property they have the right to do the same. Now if you were directly across the street you can do what ever you please as long at it is within the the Ofcom regulations. They are not saying you can't set up a wifi hub in London they are saying you can't set up a wifi hub at an Olympic venue on private property. If the venues are on public property then they have no ground to stand on as they don't have the authority to remove people from public property.

      • by metrometro (1092237) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:25AM (#40868497)

        The cognitive dissonance occurs when people realize that the world's premier global festival is a "private" event in which the incredibly rich can exclude citizen participation for no better reason than it does not make them more rich.

        When exactly did we sign up for that?

        • The cognitive dissonance occurs when people realize that the world's premier global festival is a "private" event ....

          ... which the local taxpayers are forced to pay off for the next decade or two. Truly an amazing deal.

      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:53AM (#40868877)

        "We want more money."

        Actually, a good portion of human activity can be explained by that simple phrase. In this case, it's about enforcing rules guaranteeing BT certain amounts of money.

        BT paid to be the sole wifi provider of the Olympic games and at Olympic Venues, if the Venues are private property they have done nothing wrong.

        THEY ARE NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY! The games are paid for with public coffers.

        All that infrastructure wasn't paid for by BT or McD or Coke or the IOC, it was all the local municipalities or provinces or federal government. It took Montreal 30 years to pay off their Olympic debt, British Columbia is four billion in the hole after 2010, and the same will happen to London in two weeks.

    • 1. by working hard and providing attractive product: ok

      2. by embedding yourself as an oligopolisitc rent seeking parasite on the political landscape: not ok *

      * but by #2 cloaking itself falsely as a capitalist force like #1, and spreading propaganda to that effect, riling up fools who believe that nonsense, such as with healthcare insurance, we can remain embedded in the body politic, and siphon off cash in a noncapitalistic way, all the while protected by idiots who think they are championing capitalism

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:40AM (#40867965)

      The Olympics--where everyone gets paid except the athletes who actually do the work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Locog doesn't want your Wifi hotspot on their property, so they forbid it and enforce the policy. If you're not put off by the commercial nature of the Olympic Games, why are you offended by this? Besides, if you were offering Wifi on your property with that many visitors, would you allow anyone to shit all over the scarce spectrum? Didn't think so.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:57AM (#40867487)
    The IOC has a lot more shutdowns to its credit.

    Every single online stream for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, for instace, i snow a endless loop saying "During the London 2012 Olympics, we are unable to bring you regular ABC programming in your location. This is due to the Olympic Broadcast Agreement."

    Try any of the streams at http://www.abc.net.au/radio/listenlive.htm#directlinks [abc.net.au] All blocked if you're outside Australia.

    Assholes. Not just sport. EVERYTHING from Australia's main broadcaster is off the air for weeks because of the fucking Olympics.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:12AM (#40867619) Journal

      Is there anything about the Olympics that isn't corrupt and disgusting?

      • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:17AM (#40867687)

        Is there anything about the Olympics that isn't corrupt and disgusting?

        Maybe (slightly...) less doping than in the Tour de France?

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Maybe (slightly...) less doping than in the Tour de France?

          No, Tour de France has far fewer participants.
          There are mainly two types of competitors in the olympics: Those who get caught, and those who don't. If you think that [insert 2012 Olympic Hero] is clean, you're deluding yourself.

          In the past, we had an occasional Eddie the Eagle who was clean, funny and doesn't stand a breadcrumb's chance in Picadilly Circus of winning anything. But now they've banned those so only top dopers, sorry, I mean athletes, can compete.

      • by qwe4rty (2599703)

        Is there anything about the Olympics that isn't corrupt and disgusting?

        I think the Olympics committee did a good job revamping their appeals process to appear more legit and transparent.

        Oh wait...

      • My answer to every question about the Olympics.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday August 03, 2012 @09:59AM (#40867505) Homepage Journal

    You have to wonder when the hell they will just sell naming rights and be done with it.

  • bad move (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:03AM (#40867531)

    These "wi-fi police" are clearly infringing on the exclusive intellectual property rights of the Metropolitan Police Service, The Official Police Force of the Olympic Games®.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Actually I think the British Army is now the official police force of the olympic games. Previously it was G4S, but they failed miserably.

  • fakeap (Score:5, Funny)

    by KDN (3283) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:03AM (#40867533)
    What we need are a few people to run the 'fakeap' program to create thousands of "access points" for them to chase :-).
  • by BigBadBus (653823) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:13AM (#40867639) Homepage
    ...by greed and commercialism. Lord Seb Coe, the head of Locog who oversee our Olympic effort, said in an interview that you wouldn't be allowed in to the Olympic park if you wore a T-shirt with the Pepsi logo on it. Of course, Coke is one of the official sponsors.

    Soon after, Coe backpedalled so rapidly that if he was seated backwards on a bike he'd win a gold medal in cycling.

    • Not just the London Olympics. In fact, not new at all. The Olympics have been corrupted beyond belief for decades now.

  • So we have WiFi Police, and Brand Police (to protect what is really important, sponsors and their branding, even from those ungrateful unpaid athletes).

    But there was a shortage in real security. Nice to see what the priorities really were for the IOC.

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:20AM (#40867729) Journal

    So, uhh, I'm a bit confused how anyone would provision outside internet access to their WiFi hotspot in the olympic park? The only answer which comes to mind is phones with built-in WiFi hotspots - but in Britain, if you're getting your phone data connection from BT (which you've paid for), why would they be able to stop you from using it?

    It is, after all, a BT wifi hotspot which they have been paid for.

    • by oobayly (1056050)

      I use my mobile as a WiFi hotspot regularly so that I can use my (non-3g) tablet. It'll be interesting to see what Vodafone's coverage will be like at Weymouth tomorrow (got offered a ticket by a mate). It wouldn't surprise me that LOCOG will manage somehow to degrade 3g coverage to get people onto BT's network.

  • Fire up an AP and get ready to debate the meaning of "unlicensed spectrum" :-)
  • Maybe the next Olympic games they'll actually let common people buy tickets again instead of selling huge blocks to corporate sponsors who don't show up.

    Naaa...

  • I haven't watched the Olympics since I was a kid, because post-childhood I discovered that the Olypics are really all about politics, with the athleticism as a mere backdrop. Why waste my time with that when I could actually be doing something useful? All this martial law-style nonsense with social networking and WiFi is just more evidence of which I speak. Why should they care about people commenting? Or how they're connecting to the internet to do it? It's all a rediculous waste of time.
  • Sounds to me like they chose the wrong country to host the games. Between this and arresting people for tweeting harmless complaints at athletes who failed, they might as well have picked China or North Korea to host.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      arresting people for tweeting harmless complaints at athletes who failed

      I wouldn't call a death threat a harmless complaint. To quote one of my overseas buds:

      He followed it up with a series of threats, culminating with a number of death threats... one of which read: "i'm going to find you and i'm going to drown you in the pool you cocky twat your a nobody people like you make me sick." He was arrested for the death threats, not for the tweet about the athlete's father.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday August 03, 2012 @12:41PM (#40869599) Journal

    If that's not a red flag screaming "challenge" to Anonymous, I'm not sure what is.

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