Westchester County

Wi-Fi

Westchester's Wi-Fi Legislation

Board of Legislators

Section 1.  A new Article XXV shall be added to Chapter 863 on the Laws of Westchester County to read as follows:

ARTICLE XXV. PUBLIC INTERNET PROTECTION ACT

Sec. 863.1201. Definitions

1. “Public Internet access” shall mean any commercial business that offers Internet access to the general public whether for a fee or free of charge.
2. “Commercial business” shall mean any entity physically located in Westchester County that: (a) for profit, offers goods or services for sale, (b) stores personal information electronically; and (c) has wireless networks.
3. “Personal information” shall mean information in combination with any one or more of the following data elements, when either the personal information or the data element is not encrypted (translated into private code) or encrypted with an encryption key that has also been acquired:
(a) social security number;
(b) bank account number, credit card or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password which would permit access to an individual’s financial account.
4. “Minimum security measures” shall include, but not be limited to: (a) installing a network firewall; (b) changing the system’s default SSID (network name); or (c) disabling SSID broadcasting.
5. “Wireless network” shall mean a connection with the Internet without needing to attach cables to one’s computer.
6. “Network firewall” shall mean a hardware device, software program or a combination of the two that protects a computer network from unauthorized access.

Sec. 863.1202. Security of Personal Information

1. Any commercial business that stores, utilizes or otherwise maintains personal information electronically shall be required to take minimum security measures as defined herein to secure and prevent unauthorized access to all such information.
2. Commercial businesses that additionally provide or offer public Internet access shall conspicuously post a sign in the area where such Internet access is located stating: 

FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION AND PRIVACY, YOU ARE ADVISED TO INSTALL A FIREWALL OR OTHER COMPUTER SECURITY MEASURE WHEN ACCESSING THE INTERNET. FOR INFORMATION ON INTERNET SAFETY PLEASE VISIT www.westchestergov.com.

Such sign shall be designed, produced and distributed by the department of weights and measures at no cost and shall, at a minimum, be printed in 14 point bold type on a placard measuring 8.5 inches in height by 11 inches in width. 

Sec. 863.1203. Public education effort 

The Westchester County Department of Weights and Measures, in conjunction with the Westchester County Department of Information Technology shall institute a public education program which shall inform and educate both the general public and the providers of public Internet access regarding the implications of this Local Law, including the need for network security measures in places of public accommodations. This public education program shall also include information to assist the general public in protecting themselves from the potential of identity theft through the use of wireless network connections regardless of where such connections originate. Such information shall also be made available through the official Westchester County government Web site at www.westchestergov.com

Sec. 863.1204. Enforcement and Penalties 

1. The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Westchester County Department of Weights and Measures.
2. A first violation of any provision of this Article shall result in a warning by the Westchester County Department of Weights and Measures which shall state that the offender has thirty (30) days to address the violation. Failure to address the violation within the thirty day period shall constitute a second violation.
3. For a second violation of this Article, a civil penalty of two hundred and fifty hundred dollars ($250.00) shall be imposed. For the third and succeeding violations, a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500.00) shall be imposed for each single violation. No civil penalty shall be imposed as provided for herein unless the alleged violator has received notice of the charge against him or her and has had an opportunity to be heard.

Sec. 863.1205. Severability

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or other portion of this local law is, for any reason, declared unconstitutional or invalid, in whole or in part, by any court of competent jurisdiction such portion shall be deemed severable, and such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this law, which remaining portions shall continue in full force and effect.

Section 2. This Local Law shall take effect one hundred and eighty (180) days following its enactment.