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NFIB Warns Small Businesses About Open Wi Fi Networks

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 7/19/2011

Wi-Fi access is a competitive advantage, but it may be created legal hazards for your small business.

Although they may not be downloading things illegally themselves, the news for small businesses from the National Federation of Independent Business is that they may get in trouble because of downloads customers make using open company-operated Wi-Fi networks.

WiFi Hacking Risk for Small Business

Farrell Quinlan, director of the Arizona NFIB office, told the Phoenix Business Journal that while Internet for customers is a nice service to have, it has to be done with great care for the future of the company.

"Many times, if you aren't offering Wi-Fi, you are at a disadvantage to your competitors," Quinland told the Phoenix Business Journal. "But it's important that small business owners realize the legal issues that they may be subject to."

An agreement between record labels, movie studios and other entertainment industry groups with Internet service providers may look to hold small businesses accountable for how their customers use Wi-Fi, the NFIB said.

Businesses who have accounts that illegally download music, movies or other copyrighted material will receive messages from their service provider informing them of the activity. After the fifth notice, an ISP may slow down a company's Internet speed or redirect Web traffic.  

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