London Olympics Forbidden Items: Weaponry and Wi-Fi
The London Olympic Committee has published a list of prohibited items that might deny you entry to the London 2012 venues. While most items are the usual suspects at sports events, such as weapons, alcohol, fireworks or illegal substances, some electronic devices, such as walkie-talkies, radio scanners and access points have been banned.
The main reason for the ban on walkie-talkies, scanners and jammers is that these devices may be used by terrorists to sabotage communication between law enforcement officers on the premises. But what about the Wi-Fi access points and 3G hotspots?
Since 3G-enabled smartphones are allowed, the ban has nothing to do with real-time broadcasting of the event. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that the London Olympics organizing committee has entered a partnership with sponsor BT, which deployed over 1,500 hotspots at Olympic sites, where access to the web costs about 10 bucks per 90 minutes.
The reason behind the hotspot ban might be related to personal security: many times, unwary web surfers blindly connect to insecure networks rather than use a safe, paid-for hotspot. This would allow any cyber-criminal to transform their smartphone into a hotspot, allow others to access the web through their device and basically collect all the data that passes through the hotspot, including login data, transaction details and whatnot.
If you’re going to the Olympic sites, we recommend you avoid connecting to any open wireless network. You are advised to either pay for Wi-Fi access via the access points made available by organizers, or purchase a pre-paid local number and activate 3G data on the device.