Cyber Safety Tips from our Partners at GuardStreet:
Should You Use ‘Free’ WiFi at Sporting Events?

April, 2019

Many NFL stadiums offer “high density” Wi-Fi, which allowed tens of thousands of mobile device users to log onto the stadium’s Wi-Fi network. They weren’t the only sport to do so: the NBA offers Wi-Fi at many of their arenas. Internationally, Wi-Fi is installed all over the stadiums.

In this day and age this is the standard. Because what fun is it to be at a sporting event if you can’t post pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?

But before you log on at your next sporting event, ask yourself exactly what you are giving up in exchange for access to so-called “free” Wi-Fi.

Why Teams Offer Free Wi-Fi: 
Obviously, teams want their fans to enjoy the whole experience of being out at the stadium, rooting on their favorite team. Offering customers a public Wi-Fi network is a standard part of the customer experience, whether it’s at the ball game or a local business.

But what else does the team get out of providing you with Wi-Fi access when you attend games? Companies specializing in setting up Wi-Fi networks in sports stadiums, are very explicit about it: they are after your data, which is very lucrative to the team.

Of course, teams can use their Wi-Fi network to deliver customized offers and discounts to fans, which is a win/win for everyone. But in order to access most of those Wi-Fi networks, you must either hand over your email address (which is usually given to the team’s marketing department), or you must provide access to your Facebook account.

When you hand over access to your social media accounts to a company, it has access to a treasure trove of information about you, including who you follow, your likes, and your friend list.

When you sign into the Wi-Fi networks and agree to the terms, you are also allowing the network access to your phone’s geolocation information to track you as you move around the stadium, and you are even allowing the network to track what apps you are using on your phone.

When Free Isn’t So Free 
Companies and retailers are beginning to realize that they can get a lot out of you by simply offering you free Wi-Fi at their stores or stadiums. By accepting their terms when you login to their networks, you are consenting to give up private information about yourself as well as allowing yourself to be tracked. Is this really what you signed up for?

Put another way, you are implicitly entering into a business arrangement with the merchant or organization. You are the product! But what do they intend to do with the data they receive about you?

In addition, Wi-Fi networks are completely open, which means that not only are you being tracked by the owner of the network, you are also completely exposed to anyone else on the network, some of whom may have bad intentions. Remember, only a VPN, included in most Legal Club SurePath ID plans, can protect you when you use public Wi-Fi networks.

Group Legal Plans and Identity Theft Solutions from Legal Club provide a wide range of legal care and identity theft benefits, including Privacy Plus Software from our partners at GuardStreet. To learn more about the plans offered by Legal Club, browse this website or call us at 800-305-6816.


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