The Costs of Free WiFi

Technology > IT

Everyone knows that a free WiFi connection saves one from using up their mobile data or avoiding expensive international roaming charges.

Facebook’s latest feature, Find WiFi, helps users around the world enjoy free WiFi access.  While it offers a convenient way to always stay connected, users need to consider two things before using Facebook to find the nearest free WiFi connection.

The first is a matter of privacy.  The new feature requires one to grant Facebook access to your GPS location data on your smartphone and it will keep track of this data even when you are not using the app.

Find WiFi also enables Facebook’s controversial Location History feature which grants the social network access to a lot of your sensitive data and allows it to keep tabs on every place you visit.

To use Find WiFi, users need to enable Facebook’s Location History to “Always.”  Even if you switch it to the ‘While using the App’ setting, it automatically reverts back to ‘Always’ as soon as you start using the Find WiFi feature.  Thus, apart from your whereabouts, Find WiFi will also eat on your battery life.

The second reason is about security.  Connecting to an unsecured wireless network can be risky and can make you more vulnerable to cyber threats and hackers. 

There seems to be no way yet to verify how secure is the network one is trying to connect to.  Some apps, offered by cyber security firms, inform users if the connection is secured or if it is safe. Facebook’s new feature does not do that.

While some Facebook users have been able to enjoy Find WiFi since last year, the feature has only been rolled out to all Android and iOS users recently.

Photo By: Scigola / Pixabay