- Higher ed CIOs are waiting for clarification on whether the Federal Communications Commission's block on jamming personal Wi-Fi hotspots applies to them.
- The confusion stems from an October incident in which the agency fined Marriott International $600,000 for blocking a guest's mobile Wi-Fi hot spot at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
- The FCC's stance is based on the ban on willful or malicious interference with radio communications established in the Communications Act of 1934, Inside Higher Ed reports, and was also made in the interest of protecting consumers' rights to utilize services they have already purchased.
Understandably, this creates an issue for campuses when it comes to network security. Aside from being unable to monitor activity on students' personal hotspots, there's also potentially the question of who is liable for any malicious activity that occurs via that sort of connection when it's on university grounds. Another potential concern might be interference with signals from an institution's own Wi-Fi network. The issue is only further complicated at campuses with convention centers, hotels, and other commercial spaces, or with their own charges to use Internet on campus.
Regardless, until further clarification is provided by the FCC, higher ed tech officials may be best to play it safe and hold off on a hotspot crackdown.