Unknown to many, the so-called free Wi-Fi facilities in some major cities around the world do come with some caveat, meaning that you should beware — as it comes with certain conditions and there's perhaps some dangers lurking behind it.
And often, these “free” Wi-Fi hotspots are found in many business and public spaces, like airports, shopping malls and even some local pubs, making it easier for people to go online, but this convenience do come at a price - given up your privacy.
Once you connect to a public Wi-Fi, you are making your data liable to a third-party provider, which in exchange for your valuable personal data avails you the convenience of a free internet connection, while the information required may vary, it often include: email address, phone number and social profile, among others.
While the temptation is pretty strong not to use free Wi-Fi hotspot, but if you are really concerned about your data privacy, it is advisable to avoid using public Wi-Fi altogether. But in a case you must do, then sign up for a more secure hotspot service.
Find below some steps you can take to protect yourself from being tracked by ‘free’ Wi-Fi hotspots
- Manually Opt-out of location tracking Location
- Delete Your location information
To effectively delete any tracking information, you'll need your MAC address, and if you are accessing the internet on your iPhone, you can get it from Settings > General > About; it’s listed as Wi-Fi Address. While for Android, go to Settings > Wireless & Networks or About Device. Press the menu key and select Advanced, and then you should see your device’s MAC address.
Then enter your MAC address to delete the data, albeit not all location services, as only location-tracking services under the Future of Privacy Forum’s Smart Places web portal.
In any case the free Wi-Fi provider is not on the portal, you can find the Wi-Fi provider’s email and contact them directly with your request to opt-out, and delete the data collected from you.