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UK launches Friendly WiFi accreditation scheme to protect users from inappropriate content

Tesco, Starbucks and Samsung are some of the first companies to sign up for the UK government’s Friendly WiFi scheme designed to prevent access to inappropriate content over public networks.

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At the heart of the scheme is the Friendly WiFi accreditation programme that allows public Wi-Fi providers to display a logo if they are committing to supporting the need to safeguard online content.

“The ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo will make clear to parents which cafes, restaurants and other businesses have internet access that is safe for their children to use. It will help these firms ensure that families feel comfortable and make it clear to parents they are choosing a safe online environment,” said Ed Vaizey, the Communications Minister. “This shows that businesses are responding to Government’s call to think about how they can help parents protect their children from inappropriate content online.”

Displaying the Friendly WiFi logo means that a company’s WiFi is filtered and anyone using it can be sure that access to inappropriate content is blocked. Among the other firms to be supporting the scheme is business provider Purple WiFi and it is under no illusions as to how important it is.

“We are committed to educating WiFi providers about the need for safeguarding against inappropriate content being viewed over public networks and the importance of meeting minimum standards. We fully support the Friendly WiFi scheme, and will encourage our partners and customers to get involved and support it too,” added Gavin Wheeldon, CEO at Purple WiFi.

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Whilst this does mean that inappropriate material is blocked, anyone using public Wi-Fi, whether under this scheme or not, should be careful not to send sensitive data such as banking details – something that Interpol was concerned enough about to release a warning.