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The Olympics Wi-Fi police pictured on the hunt

by Mark Tyson on 3 August 2012, 10:30

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A)

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Olympics organisers want to enforce the ban on 3G powered Wi-Fi hotspots at the official Olympics venues. With so many 3G users packed into a small space interference can degrade official communications networks. Also BT has the contract for providing Wi-Fi at Olympic venues with pricing at £5.99 for 90 minutes. What is the main reason for the Wi-Fi police? Preventing signal interference in the venues or protecting BT profits?

On the official list of prohibited items at Olympic venues are guns, drugs, explosives and “personal/private wireless access points and 3G hubs”. Though spectators are allowed to take in their smartphones, the document warns they must not be used as wireless access points.

The men’s cycling race coverage on 28th July was disrupted, allegedly because of heavy tweeting and texting. “The electronic updates on racers' times and positions that broadcasters rely on to cover the race in real time” was hobbled by tweet happy racing fans, said CBC News. The lack of GPS data coming though to the BBC meant that a commentator resorted to using his wrist watch to estimate cyclists’ times.

Sadao Turner, an American showbiz reporter posted the picture above on Twitter with a comment; “Something you won't see on TV, this is the Olympics Wi-Fi Police. They seek unauthorized Wi-Fi signals & shut them down.” The Wi-Fi Traffic Warden is equipped with a modified and painted bright red R&S HE300 Antenna. The unit can be used “for localizing transmitting and interfering sources. The direction of signal sources is found by pointing the antenna towards the direction of maximum signal voltage.”

If you buy an Olympic event ticket the T&Cs say that pictures and videos “cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes”. You are not allowed to share pictures and videos on social networks and the internet. Whilst restricting commercial companies from using such content is understandable, they should use licensed images etc, restricting friends sharing sporting pictures on Facebook is a bit heavy handed.

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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If I was at the olympics i'd just switch my wifi hotspot on when im not using it. They are trying to regulate wifi? Surely a human rights abuse!
They've done similar with photos, banning all interchangeable-lens cameras from the venues (yes, even the little APS-C Panasonics et al) unless you part with many megabucks for a press pass.
They've done similar with photos, banning all interchangeable-lens cameras from the venues (yes, even the little APS-C Panasonics et al) unless you part with many megabucks for a press pass.

Im sorry thats complete rubbish

I have been to 3 events so far including Diving at the aquatics center Archery at Lords and Shooting at the Royal Artillery barracks

You are allowed any camera with an change able lense as long as it is under 30cm.

I took a D300s with a 70-200mm on it measuring 27cm and it was fine, I didnt have a single problem anywhere.

If you look at the rules for cameras it clearly states must be for personal use and that equipment must be under 30cm with no tripods

So people can't wait a couple of hours to upload when they get home? LOCOG would cause an uproar if they actually enforced this.

As for no 3G tethering, why not just use the phone's camera and connection?! Though if you need one in an emergency, remember that 90% of people don't change the default HTC password of 1234567890 ;)
My mate from the army was happily snapping away pics and posting them on the internet; loophole!