Content filtering of public Wi-Fi was discussed recently at City Hall. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Content filtering of public Wi-Fi was discussed recently at City Hall. (Chilliwack Progress file)

People keep trying to use city wi-fi to watch porn, Chilliwack council told

City staff conducted investigation and found 166 attempts to access porn from Leisure Centre

Chilliwack council was recently asked to clamp down on unrestricted Wi-Fi to ensure porn cannot be accessed by minors from its public facilities.

The subsequent investigation by City of Chilliwack staff revealed that 166 attempts were made via public Wi-Fi to access pornographic websites from the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre in just one week.

They were all blocked — but they tried.

Youth advocates had approached council on May 8 to talk about child-proofing porn access in Chilliwack.

“We think businesses and public places also need to find ways to block porn sites,” Jocelyn Thomas, a member of the Chilliwack Child and Youth’s primary prevention committee told council.

“We think porn should be accessed through third-party authentication. We call this child proofing porn.”

City-run Wi-Fi systems, available since 2013, feature content-filtering tools to block access to websites with content deemed inappropriate, offensive or objectionable such as: hate speech/discrimination, drugs and alcohol, violence, adult themes, pornography, as well malicious sites.

But some tech-savvy types can bypass these content controls, council was told.

The staff report on the Wi-Fi investigation was received by council May 21, after council had expressed concern about allegations that minors were accessing porn through open Wi-Fi in or near civic facilities like the Leisure Centre.

“Statistics over a seven-day period have shown that 166 attempts were made to access pornographic content at the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre via the City’s public Wi-Fi,” according to the staff report delivered to council May 21. “All attempts were blocked by the City’s Content Filtering system, including the website mentioned during the presentation.”

However the IT department completed a Wi-Fi survey at the Leisure Centre and found out that several open Wi-Fi systems can be accessed, belonging to residents and businesses, as well as a commercial tenant in the Leisure Centre.

Businesses who wish to provide internet access for customers “should consider implementing Content Filtering and WPA,” according to the staff report explaining Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

“The City is using best practice methods and is making every reasonable effort to make sure that the City operated Wi-Fi systems at all public facilities protect staff and the public from accessing content that is deemed inappropriate, offensive or objectionable.”

Similar surveys are planned for other city facilities with public Wi-Fi, and discussions about filtering content and password-protected access will continue.