WiFi in Court

Bored when waiting to be called as a witness? Need to brush up a bit on public decency laws before you get called into the dock? Then if you’re at one of the seven UK courts that have just rolled out public WiFi access, then you’re in luck.

As a pilot that might lead to a national deployment, seven courts have installed BT Openzone WiFi access. Ostensibly to assist court staff in research and communications, the access points are open to the public too, and standard OpenZone pricing will apply (about UK£6, €9 for an hour).

“The hot spots should enable lawyers to access information held at their offices or receive emails and have information sent to them while they are attending court,” said Lord Justice Thomas, the senior presiding judge of England and Wales.

“When new points of law arise during the course of the hearing, they should be able to carry out the necessary research without leaving the building.”

Obviously the service will not be available in the courts themselves.

The pilot runs until 2006, and echo a similar WiFi trial in UK public library also announced this week.

The Court Service

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?