PTA to Record User Data from Public WiFi Hotspots

As the number of Wi-Fi Hotspots at public places keep increasing, PTA has come up with regulations to facilitate service providers and its users through proper check and balances. Last year, the authority published a draft and asked for public comments. the draft has now been finalized and notified to the appropriate stakeholders.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has notified “Data Retention of Internet extended to WiFi-Hotspots Regulations, 2018″ aimed at facilitating service providers.

According to the rules, the owner of a public Wi-Fi hotspot will be required to maintain a log of the user information for a minimum os twelve months as opposed to the six 6 months proposed in the draft regulations.

The regulator has introduced a mechanism for the registration, maintenance and retention of information of persons using data services through wi-fi hotspots in public places.


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As per the Telecommunications Policy 2015, provision of public Wi-Fi hotspots, based on international standards, will be allowed for commercial use. PTA has put the necessary regulations encompassing appropriate adjustments in transmit power and hop length to ensure that the benefit from Wi-Fi is maximized within constraints of the ITU-R Radio Regulations and possible interference effects.

In this context, a Wi-Fi hotspot is a Wi-Fi node that is attached to a fixed network and provides limited mobility access or fixed access. Therefore, backhaul for public Wi-Fi hotspots will be provided by a fixed network operator where such services are available.

Mobile operators wishing to provide fixed or limited mobility public Wi-Fi services to their own customers may do so under a commercial arrangement with a fixed network operator. Wi-Fi offloading of mobile traffic to a Wi-Fi node linked to a mobile network or to a WiFi hotspot linked to a fixed network may be undertaken by mobile licensees.

In the spirit of the license granted to a mobile operator, the Wi-Fi node linked to a mobile network may be used to provide offloading of mobile traffic only from its own subscribers and from those that are roaming on its network. The Wi-Fi node linked to a mobile network must not be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot that provides fixed or limited mobility services.

5.10.4 PTA will ensure that consumer protection and other regulatory arrangements that apply to ISPs more generally apply to Wi-Fi hot spots.

These regulations shall apply to access providers and class licensing registration licensees with the mandate to register, maintain and retain information of people using data services through Wi-Fi hotspots at public places as prescribed under these new regulations.

All Wi-Fi hotspot service providers are required to retain information/data of users from public Wi-Fi hotspots. Service providers/licensees will have to provide this user information to the authority or its authorized officers when required.

Licensees will be required to devise a mechanism for their public Wi-Fi hotspots where the following minimum user information will be saved in an automated mechanism:

  1. Full name of the user
  2. CNIC number /passport numbers (in case of foreigners)
  3. Mobile number [shall be used as Login ID]
  4. Acceptance of Terms and Conditions to use of such Data Services facilities
  5. Generation of password through SMS.

Licensee(s) will have to observe technical expertise and arrangements, as provided in Class Licensing Registration Regulation, 2007, the draft of PTA regulation stated.

The owner of a public Wi-Fi hotspot will be required to maintain a log of the following user information for a minimum of twelve (12) months:

  1. Full Name of the user
  2. CNIC number/passport numbers (in case of foreigners)
  3. Mobile Number
  4. Date & time of login
  5. Date & time of logoff
  6. IP address allocated to the user
  7. MAC Address
  8. Internet Access Log e.g. Http, POP, IMAP, Skype, etc

In case of non-compliance with these regulations, the data services provided by the licensees as public Wi-Fi hotspot will be terminated.

The licensees shall comply with all regulations, decisions, guidelines, procedures and instructions issued by the Authority for the establishment of Wi-Fi Hotspot as well as facilitation to the consumer, including all applicable law in force in Pakistan.



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