Municipalities: follow Tilburg and stop WiFi tracking!
Wi-Fi is offered in many places in the public domain. Although it is often presented as a service to use the internet for free, a consumer still pays: with his or her data.
Privacy First stands for the right to privacy in the sense of anonymity in public spaces. This includes the right to shop anonymously. WiFi tracking without informing customers and without asking for their prior consent constitutes a flagrant violation of this right. Since 2013, Privacy First has communicated this position several times, for example on Radio 1 and at BNR News Radio.
In June 2016, the Personal Data Authority, in a letter to municipalities and retailers that the use of WiFi tracking is subject to strict requirements. In early May 2019, the municipality of Tilburg said it would stop public WiFi in the city centre and the railway zone. "Because the municipality does not have sufficient control and influence over how the WiFi network supplier handles some of this data (in the 'cloud'), it has been decided to end public WiFi for the inner city and railway zone with immediate effect," the municipality said. Source: https://www.tilburg.nl/actueel/nieuws/item/geen-openbare-wifi-meer-in-binnenstad-en-spoorzone/.
Privacy First welcomes this move and calls on other municipalities to follow suit. In addition, Privacy First calls on companies to stop using WiFi tracking because it is an invasion of people's privacy. Especially if WiFi tracking is used to follow people through a shop with the aim of tracking consumer behaviour. Often a solution can be found where privacy by design is applied. Privacy First refers to the municipality of Nijmegen, which was nominated for the 2019 Dutch Privacy Awards with anonymous passer-by counts. Privacy First looks forward to seeing similar projects from other municipalities to protect privacy in the public domain.