Legislation Passes Requiring Retail Businesses To Post Warnings When Offering Internet Access To The Public

Thomas P. Morahan

March 02, 2007

New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan (R,C, I, New City) announced Senate passage of legislation he authored that requires any retail business that offers internet access to post a warning sign in their establishment. Such a warning would state: "For the purposes of your own protection and privacy, you are advised to install a firewall or other computer security measures when accessing the Internet".

The Senator introduced the legislation (S. 249) after being provided with information from law enforcement officials, who indicated that hundreds of businesses, including hotels and Internet cafes in New York State were increasingly providing Internet access to their customers, particularly over wireless networks. They noted to the Senator that the growth in retail Internet sites has resulted in expanded opportunities for hackers attempting to access the computers of unsuspecting Internet users.

By requiring these signs to be posted in these businesses, the legislation serves as a reminder to Internet users to protect themselves and their personal information by using computer security measures such as a firewall.

"This legislation goes a long way in protecting innocent Internet users who frequent retail establishments. Unfortunately, identity theft and related criminal activity has increased dramatically over the last several years and continues to do so. This legislation will serve as a key component in the ongoing process of educating the public regarding the vulnerability of open internet access in retail establishments," said Detective Lieutenant John J. Gould, Director of the Rockland County Sheriff's Computer Crime Task Force.