Watch Your Hotspot Names When Attending A Work Conference

We're fans of using strange names for your wireless access point, whether that's to amuse yourself or to improve security. But you might need to be more careful if you take the same approach with a mobile hotspot at a public event such as a conference.

Earlier this week at Linux.conf.au, organisers took the relatively unusual step of reminding attendees not to use offensive names for their access points. The conference code of conduct requires all presentations to be suitable for an audience aged 12 or over and bans any sexualised content, a policy which apparently extends to hotspot names as well. While the event offers free Wi-Fi at most venues, there were problems with it on the first day due to some equipment issues, which led to mobile hotspots being used more extensively than might have otherwise been the case.

Not everyone appears to have paid attention to the request, with disruptive names continuing to appear (NSFW link) at the conference. In part, that might reflect the difficulty of regulating the issue: it's impossible to easily identify the owners of individual hotspots. The code of conduct has been a controversial issue, but agreeing to it is a condition of attending. Is it fair to extend it to hotspot names? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Comments

    The airwaves are free. WiFi spectrum is unregulated. Use whatever SSID you like I reckon.

      Or you could not be a jerk and have basic respect for those around you. It's up to you.

        I'm sorry, but broadcasting a digital message of any description, on any protocol, cannot possibly be considered "disrespectful" to the people around me. It cannot be seen unless you are specifically looking for it, so the assertion that it is disrespectful is plain absurd.

        Care to run a packet sniffer and see what wifi traffic you can find? I'm betting there are far more offensive things than harmless wifi SSIDs being blasted around the airwaves.

          If someone else wants to connect, then they have to look at a window that shows them all the names of the hotspots around them; they can't just "not look" at your crude rubbish.

          You can reason all you like, but by doing that you're just acting like a fourteen year old idiot. You could also walk naked down the street and claim that "nobody has to look" or "it can't be seen unless you're specifically looking at me". You'll still be a dickhead, and you'll still get in trouble.

          Also, this is in the context of a conference. It's not happening inside your own home. Give your own wireless at home any damn name you want, but if you choose to go to a conference that is open to the public, then follow the rules set by the organizer, and have some respect. It is disrespectful not to do so.

          Believe it or not, you don't just have the "right" do do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want. By naming your wifi hot spot you're not transmitting a private message that someone has to go looking for; in fact, I'm betting that's what the idiots using NSFW names are counting on.

          What you're saying is the equivalent of walking down the street masturbating, and then when the cops pull you up, complaining that you can see far worse stuff if you peek through other people's closed curtains.

            Unless you are transmitting something directed and offensive such as "P*** off you (insert religion here) terrorists" or "The woman at 25 Fake St is a whore" then there is very little anyone is going to do with it.

            See, I know this because my SSID is "WA Police Investigations Van" and the Police have not attempted to do anything about it or even give a shit, but last time I masturbated walking down the street they slapped some cuffs on me and charged me with an offence. It is more like leaving a post-it note on the neighbours bin with an insult on it and leaving it unsigned.

            Wifi at a conference is again a big who cares. Nothing stopping the kid across the road from putting something offensive on his SSID and allowing everyone to see it.

            If you are honestly offended by an SSID then you should seriously rethink the ownership of a wifi enabled device. That offensively named network is just a portal to a horrible place filled with hate, porn and stupid people.

            Hell, there is far more offensive stuff being broadcast over the airways. Have you ever tuned in to UHF40 on a CB radio? Or listened to Kyle Sandilands?

              It's not about being offensive (so much), it's about respecting the rules of the conference in which you are participating, and also having respect for those around you. Your point about what people are going to "do with it" is completely irrelevant.

              What gets me though is why the hell would anybody choose to go to a conference that they actively want to participate in, and then do something as immature as that? For the attention I'm guessing.

              If you're the sort of person who wants to name their SSID "Fuck off cuntbag" then you probably should go back to high school with people of your own maturity level. I just can't honestly believe grown adults would think that is funny.

    were they also checking in case people had naughty words on their t-shirts?

    If 12 year olds are looking for Wifi SSIDs, presumably they're somewhat internet savvy. Not as if you can really scar them with 32 characters more than a quick Urban Dictionary search.

    my wifi ssid is "get your own wifi" :)

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