Last July, the German government amended the Telemedia Act and are now moving forward with their plan to improve the access to free Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide. Nevertheless, legal vagueness together with the protection requirements of new networks may slow down the process.
The recently amended German Telemedia Act, the legislation that sets the framework for internet access across the country, officially signed the end of the so-called Störerhaftung (liability as a co-liable party) law, a law that states that Wi-Fi network owners in Germany are liable for the illegal activities run by people using their connections. With the introduction of the Telemedia law, the future of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Germany now seems to be brighter, as more business owners will feel encouraged to provide their businesses with Wi-Fi access, without fear of being prosecuted for any cybercriminal activities carried out on their networks. However, providers and retailers have complained about the lack of clearly stated rules about how Wi-Fi hotspots providers should electronically secure their Wi-Fi networks, as the act only mentions the usage of “adequate” electronic security, such as encryption methods, without clear specifications.