Vancouver Police Think Wireless Network Needs Safety Net
I am unsure what "advantage" Wi-Fi would give criminals that is not already provided by mobile phones.
Vancouver's goal of becoming a free Wi-Fi city is still in its planning stages but security concerns have already been raised about allowing any user to access the Internet anywhere in the city.
Police are concerned that unrestricted wireless access would give criminals an advantage by making it more difficult to track them.
In a report earlier this month to city council, staff said a private partner is necessary to make the project work.
A blanket Wi-Fi would require an estimated capital cost of $10-million.
The staff report outlined four options: a private-public partnership, building the wireless network as a public utility for the city, handing the project over completely to the private sector, or doing nothing at all.
None of the options mitigate the security risks completely, said Shari Wallace, acting director of information technology for the city.
Ms. Wallace said police are involved in the planning process and working with the city to discuss how to safeguard the free wireless access from criminals and hackers.
"There will be technical and stakeholder involvement," she said.
"We're at the very beginning of the journey."
The City of Toronto began a six-month free wireless period in September after partnering with Toronto Hydro Telecom, which will be charging $29 a month. Fredericton, because of its compact size, is the closest a Canadian city has come to becoming a free Wi-Fi municipality.