Friday, December 3, 2021

Sense, censorship and conversation

Section:

Should controls on Internet and email usage in public spaces and cafes, bars and restaurants be welcomed?

 

When you see someone sat in a café tapping away on a laptop what do you think? Could they be a media dahling on a deadline, a freelancer desperately seeking work, an Al-Qaeda member plotting their next mission or maybe just a filthy sort sat looking at porn? The Internet and email are essentials for many of us, but increasingly changes are occurring in venues and public spaces with regard to what websites and mail software they allow their guests to access and use.

 

Free WiFi proliferates now in public spaces, bars and restaurants but what are the limitations of using it?
Free WiFi proliferates now in public spaces, bars and restaurants but what are the limitations of using it?

As an example, Colbert in Sloane Square offers visitors free access to WiFi but usage of mail software such as Microsoft Outlook to access emails is blocked. This is an option chosen by venues that wish to stop spammers mass mailing Viagra and penis enlargement sales pitches on their services and is, in a way, understandable. It’s just highly inconvenient if you want to quickly send an email from a laptop or tablet device and a friend of mine expressed great frustration about this earlier today.

 

Places such as the Victoria & Albert Museum insist that those using their WiFi accept a series of conditions but offer uncensored access including the ability to use mail software. They do not ask users to provide any personal information and this seems like a happy medium based upon the assumption that those using the service are adult enough not to abuse what is provided. We doubt the art loving sorts visiting the V&A are likely to be using such locations as modern day “dead letter offices” and locations from which to conduct espionage but who could possibly tell?

 

Continuing with another two examples in the aforementioned Sloane Square, The Botanist and Côte both allow password-controlled access to their WiFi without restrictions. This works perfectly but in chains such as Geronimo Inns, a decision to censor certain sites that are considered offensive in the eyes of the management places them in the same league as the Christian bed and breakfast owners who refused to allow a gay couple to stay. Such a decision raises the question: “What is ‘acceptable’?” and “what is not?” and whilst Geronimo block such websites as Saucy Dates, Marital Affair and Gaydar on the basis of their considering them indecent, other venues opt to go as far as to block Facebook even. The selfie loving sorts that frequent gastropubs and nightclubs would reel in horror if they found they couldn’t get on Instagram and just imagine if Wikileaks were to be blocked in Julian Assange’s one time home, the Frontline Club in Paddington.

 

In many restaurants and bars – including Pizza Express and McDonalds – a choice has been made to use the BSkyB owned The Cloud to provide free WiFi to their customers. I found it was available in the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital even yesterday also – but only if you paid a most ludicrous £10 per hour. Equally, given the current debate around metadata and that The Cloud is ultimately under the control of Rupert Murdoch, questions arise about what is done with what happens to the personal information those customers using this service ends up. Hacked Off director Hugh Grant better be careful next time he goes into his local Pizza Express on Fulham Road.

 

In conclusion, one could ask: “Are such Internet and WiFi control policies sensible or are these yet further examples of a world that is becoming more and more like something out of 1984?” Those providing free Internet and WiFi services have a right to provide as and what they see fit but equally customers must also realise that by using such services, there are all sorts of potential ramifications. “Free WiFi”, just like “free Hotmail” and “free Gmail”, isn’t really free and that is a vitally important point.

 

I am the first to admit I am a major offender in terms of how much I tend to use WiFi whilst out and about, but whilst in public spaces, cafes, bars and restaurants, much could be said for turning off our devices and using these places for what they were really designed for. The ability to use WiFi whilst on the move is certainly wonderful and extremely useful, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we chose to converse a little more with our fellow man instead?

 

 

Subscribe to our free once daily email newsletter here:

    Success! Thanks for Your Request.
    Error! Please Try Again.

     

    The Steeple Times
    We research and background check our articles. If you believe we have made and error in some detail please get in touch, we seek always to write the truth and stand against a press owned by a self selected few. Please help us, we will accept all your likes, subscriptions and anonymous suport. The Editor and his team at the Steeple Times.
    Advertisement

    5 COMMENTS

    1. I like having WiFi access when I go to a coffee shop but do people really need to sit tapping away of an evening when in a Michelin starred restaurant? Witnessed this the other day. When a chef makes fantastic food, it is insulting to sit tapping away on Facebook I’d argue.

    2. You are right in your comment about “free WiFi” not being “free”. These companies are all grabbing our data. It’s very worrying. Watch out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. I think the free market should decide. I fully understand why places wish to charge people for using WiFi. They do not want people seated in their venue for hours on end, and maybe purchasing a single cup of coffee, simply to use the WiFi. Those that do that might prevent other potential customers having a seat in a busy period and hence the potential customers are lost to a different venue.

      I am just miffed when some are more interesting in their own rules than business sense. An example is a cafe that I frequent for lunch. They have what might be considered a reasonable policy that the WiFi is turned off during lunch period of 12.00pm-2.00pm (or some such) at weekends to stop people hogging tables during the busy period. But when I was in there on a weekend lunchtime recently, the place was half empty. I asked them if they would turn on the WiFi for me and if it got busy I would leave. I explained I had no desire for them to lose business because I wanted to use the WiFi. The manager simply refused. I therefore cancelled my tea and asked for the bill. The cafe lost out on the sale at least one, maybe two cups of tea because of their policy and they made a customer rather annoyed at what was perceived to be idiocy. One the way out I saw the owner seated at a table. He recognised me as a frequent customer. I explained to him why I was leaving and he was horrified. He offered to turn the WiFi on immediately, but by this stage it was too late. I had decided to leave. I still frequent that establishment but have not yet been back at a weekday lunchtime to see if the manager would treat customers in a better manner

    4. I own Saucy Dates which is cited in this article and I use free wi-fi a lot on business. When I visit a coffee shop and my own site is blocked I have to say that I do understand. In the UK many sites are also blocked by the phone operators until you request access to over 18 content. With larger screens such as iPads and laptops, blocking content is important, likewise if someone is watching adult content on their phone it would be wrong to here a climaxing couple through the speakers whilst you are sipping your latte. There is a time and place for everything.

    5. As long as you don’t bank on-line in these remote places but rather at home, or indeed perform any sensitive research or using your credit card, and just reading your emails, I don’t think poses any real threat. If I check into an hotel and they charge me for Wifi I just walk out as it’s an outrage that in this day and age anybody should charge for this now very basic ordinary day to day essential service, just like the telephone was in your hotel room, or the call-box in the foyer. By the way if you threaten to leave they end up not charging you for the wifi.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Advertisement

    £1 per week Supports The Steeple Times

    Help journalism to remain honest & independent. You can make a difference to the world today.

    2,780FansLike
    2,068FollowersFollow
    11,768FollowersFollow

    Subscribe For DAILY NEWS

    Please subscribe, like and share this unique site, it helps us tremendously. The Steeple Times in return will send you an email at noon each and everyday, that we sincerely hope you will enjoy & look forward to seeing in your inbox.

    AD
    Advertisement

    Recent and Popular

    (Un)Signed Ghislaine Maxwell 69 Stanhope Mews East

    (Un)Signed Ghislaine

    Crowdfunder for documentary supporting alleged mucky madam Ghislaine Maxwell fails to sign up a single supporter just as signs go up at her former home about filming and dog pee.
    Clowning Around Boris Johnson Sir Keir Starmer

    Bosie – Stop Clowning Around

    Matthew Steeples suggests Boris Johnson needs to stop clowning around and tell the truth about his strategy to fight COVID-19 and Omicron this winter.
    Poisonous apple Ghislaine Maxwell

    Ghislaine Maxwell – A Genuinely Poisonous Apple

    References to Adam and Eve from Ghislaine Maxwell’s defence team ignore the fact she is a genuinely poisonous apple; references to Jeffrey Epstein being like James Bond are equally ludicrous suggests Matthew Steeples.
    Lowbrow Lindsay Lohan

    Lowbrow Lindsay Lohan Reaches A New Low

    When you thought lowbrow loser Lindsay Lohan couldn’t go any lower, the ‘celebutard’ predictably delivers.
    Day of Destiny Scott Borgerson Ghislaine Maxwell Jeffrey Epstein Prince Andrew

    Ghislaine Maxwell’s Day Of Destiny

    As Ghislaine Maxwell faces her day of destiny at the ‘trial of the century,’ her brother ridiculously claims their pension robbing father’s “reputation was trashed beyond belief” and announces of his sister: “This time, let’s bring this ship home.”
    Karl Lagerfeld Rolls-Royce

    Rolling With Karl Lagerfeld

    Three Rolls-Royces that belonged to the late designer Karl Lagerfeld to be auctioned by Sotheby’s; the eccentric never drove them himself.
    Amanda Platell with paedophile Rolf Harris

    Moron of the Moment – Amanda Platell

    Paedophile and sex offender apologist Amanda Platell’s claims that the BBC “conned” her into an interview about the royals are beyond laughable.
    Haider Malik

    Hero of the Hour – Haider Malik

    Unemployed graduate Haider Malik’s decision to seek work by standing with a pop-up-stall outside Canary Wharf tube station paid off with a top job offer.

    Over a Million Views

    Omid Scobie Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex Finding Freedom

    Who REALLY is Omid Scobie?

    An examination of the true character traits of the Duchess of Sussex’s PR peddling biased ‘bestie’ Omid Scobie by Nikolay Kalinin.
    Justice for James Scurlock – Power of social media proven after the senseless murder of James Scurlock in Omaha, Nebraska allegedly by a bar owner Jake Gardner who has been photographed with Donald Trump.

    Justice for James Scurlock

    Power of social media proven after senseless killing of James Scurlock in Omaha, Nebraska allegedly by a controversial bar owner named Jake Gardner who has been photographed with Donald Trump.
    Moron of the Moment – Prince Harry – With his marriage to the former Meghan Markle, Prince Harry has morphed into an utter bore.

    Moron of the Moment – Prince Harry

    With his marriage to the woman formerly known as Meghan Markle, Prince Harry has morphed into an utter bore   Prince Harry used to be a fun loving sort. He boozed, partied and enjoyed playing pranks. Now, having married ‘Murky Mucky Mendacious Meg,’ it seems those days are over.   Supposedly, according to...
    Omid Scobie Sadie Quinlan Yankee Wally

    Scobie Orf!

    ‘MeGain’s’ bestie Omid Scobie deservedly gets slammed by ‘Yankee Wally’ Sadie Quinlan for getting her shut down on Twitter; this childish chap should now just ‘belt up, wrap up and shut up.’
    A Massive Media Maelstrom – McCann, Mandelson and Maxwell – Matthew Steeples highlights how the ‘Mandelson Media Method’ is very much in play in both the case of the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein connection and the renewed interest in the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

    A Massive Media Maelstrom – McCann, Mandelson and Maxwell

    Matthew Steeples highlights how the ‘Mandelson Media Method’ is very much in play in both the case of the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein connection and the renewed interest in the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
    Richard Madeley Diana Princess of Wales

    Moron of the Moment 2021 – Richard Madeley

    As the new Diana, Princess of Wales statue is mocked as looking like him, ‘Dorian Gray of Daytime Telly’ Richard Madeley pathetically claims he got PTSD due to worrying about his son’s wedding.

    Weather

    London
    light rain
    3.4 ° C
    5 °
    1.9 °
    92 %
    0.5kmh
    75 %
    Fri
    8 °
    Sat
    6 °
    Sun
    6 °
    Mon
    7 °
    Tue
    7 °