Parliament House gets free wifi

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Parliament House gets free wifi
Parliament House, Canberra

Blocks blacklisted sites from open network.

The Department of Parliamentary Services has committed to spending $10,000 a year on free wifi for visitors, politicians and employees of Parliament House.

The department deployed the network on July 31 and launched it this week, informing visitors that no passwords would be required to connect to 'WiFiParliament'.

Departmental secretary Carol Mills said all unencrypted traffic going into and out of the wireless network was controlled by proxies that scanned for malware.

Encrypted web site traffic was not inspected to maintain the confidentiality of the users’ data.

The department also blocked about 500 sites that the Defence Signals Directorate had found to be malicious.

It also worked with security vendor Trend Micro to blocked a wider list of bandwidth-intensive, malicious, or adult sites, including peer-to-peer downloading servers and gambling sites.

However, Mills said there were no controls to prevent malware from spreading between devices within the network.

“The user agreement that forms the conditions of use places the onus on users of the free service to protect themselves from other wireless devices," she said.

“This enables the potential user to make an informed decision on the probity of using the free wireless service, in effect transferring the risk of a personal device being compromised back to the user of the service.”

Mills said the wifi service was an addition to the Department of Parliamentary Services' existing wireless infrastructure.

The department expected the new wifi network to account for an additional 5 percent of its internet costs, amounting to less than $10,000 a year.

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