Not everyone is willing to pay for expensive international data plans while traveling abroad, so for those who don’t, roaming around town without a connection to the vast online world can provoke internet withdrawals. Frantically scoping out for the nearest Starbucks has little to do with a pick me up caffeine fix, but more for its free Wifi. While the current state of free Wifi has greatly improved throughout Europe, Germany is set to put some new rules into play that will make businesses more receptive to contributing to a network of open and password-free connections for the public.
As it stands today, businesses who offer up their Wifi to customers have had to worry about facing steep fines and court costs for illegal activity carried out by people plugging into the open network. Those wanting to illegally download movies would turn to these hotspots to prevent authorities from finding who did it, so instead the businesses became the one to carry the legal burden.
One solution has been to require a password or sign-in process to restrict use, but that in and of itself has only added a level of frustration among users. So with a new draft bill coming from Germany’s Economics Ministry, a proposal is being offered up that will remove more responsibility from business owners when illegal actions are carried out via their free Wifi connections. Instead of being handed fines, businesses would receive notice of the activities and be told to block access to the websites used to do so.