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Facebook and Cisco Offer Check-In Service For Free Wifi 67

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-trade-makes-sense dept.
cagraham writes "According to TechCrunch, Facebook and Cisco are now expanding their joint "Facebook Wifi" program nationwide. The service directs customers who connect to a store's wifi to a landing page where they are encouraged to "check-in" to the business in order to be connected. While users can currently opt out of this and still be connected, the "skip this" button is noticeably difficult to find. The free software integrates with businesses existing routers and providers. Facebook provides reports to participating businesses as well, complete with anonymized aggregate data on the demographics of the customers who checked-in."
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Facebook and Cisco Offer Check-In Service For Free Wifi

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  • Congratulations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:33AM (#45025533) Journal
    "Congratulations, we'll give you a service that lots of people offer for free,as long as you earn us money!" - Facebook
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It isn't facebook saying that, it's the owner of the coffee shop saying that. This is how a market economy works. If this is really onerous to patrons, they'll make that known. If you don't like your local coffee shop doing this, then patronize another business who doesn't make you login with facebook, and let them know why.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        This would be fine if there were coffee shops other than Starbucks around.

        At most of the places I've been, there's at best two alternatives to SBUX, frequently only one, and not that conveniently located or having poor hours. Panera Bread seems to be their biggest competitor these days in fact, and that isn't really supposed to be a "coffee shop".

      • I find it annoying that because I reject Facebook, there are web sites I can't log onto. I guess this means there will be places where I will be denied WiFi because I reject Facebook.

    • Facebook and Google taking their Hunger Games to next level on how to get more and more data about people, games sponsored by NSA.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:35AM (#45025565) Homepage

    At least they don't check you in automatically. Though I'm sure that's next.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      'Relax' said the night man,
      'We are programmed to receive.
      You can check out any time you like,
      But you can never leave!'

    • by skids (119237)

      Though I'm sure that's next.

      It's called 802.11u. Though really how evil it is is entirely up to the people who write the UI for it. dot11u in and of itself is a plausibly useful and beneficial technology.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:36AM (#45025571) Homepage Journal

    Facebook or google pretending they are the internet again. Sorry to any of you that enjoyed the days where there were more than 2 websites.

    • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:41AM (#45025625)

      Facebook or google pretending they are the internet again. Sorry to any of you that enjoyed the days where there were more than 2 websites.

      Well, not quite. It would be the merchants who offer "free" wifi with this (so far) optional "service" that think so. The wifi still works, for now. When you can't get to anything without having a Facebook account with which to surrender your privacy, then we have a problem. "Look, barrista-dude. I bought your damn coffee and an overpriced stale pastry. Now I just want to check my stocks and no, I do not have a Facebook account."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There will be overpriced, stale pastry mongers who will offer something that isn't. Competition is good.

        Or you could brew your own coffee...imagine that! It's hot water and ground beans, not rocket science!

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:49AM (#45025705)

    You mean that if I use internet provided by a business, that my browsing activity might be monitored?

    Color me shocked.

    • by gsslay (807818) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @12:01PM (#45026567)

      You've missed the point. This is for businesses that not only may monitor your wifi connection, but also demand that you advertise their business to all your facebook "friends" before they'll let you use it.

      This is just one more way that facebook is enabling businesses to worm their way into your online life. Next step is to give the business you "checked in" with access to your profile data, so next time you're in their shop using their wifi, they can serve up their adverts targeted at you. Are you ready for creepy stalker adverts that know where you are, and what you should be buying there? Are you ready for those adverts appearing on the shop menu, visible to all? It's going to happen.

      Don't want to use their wifi? How about if they gave discounts that can only be accessed through your facebook account while you're ordering your coffee? How about when those discounts become the de-facto actual price, and the usual price is more of a non-facebook excess fee? Still going to be the refusenik?

      Companies would argue that this is all about knowing you better, to better give you what you want. But I say this is handing over to them every advantage the customer ever had in the transaction.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        When you share the check-in, change the privacy settings on the post to "Only Me". Then no-one but you and the application that thinks you posted it know it even existed.

        I also encourage this for fucking Facebook games that insist on spamming your friends list once every 32 seconds.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          When you share the check-in, change the privacy settings on the post to "Only Me".

          You really think Facebook is going to continue to allow this? FB is famous for screwing with privacy settings and not honoring them.

  • by 2phar (137027) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @10:58AM (#45025807)
    We'll check you in anyway [latimes.com]
    • by number17 (952777)

      To use the app, people first have to sign up. The app will then work with users to verify pictures of them to get a better reading of their face.

      Pure stalker creepy. Setup a profile on behalf of another and have somebody else do the tracking work for you.

    • I used to wear a nice wide-brimmed fedora. (I left it on a plane and haven't bought another.) It may be time to start [rt.com] wearing one again.

      .

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:00AM (#45025823)
    Couldn't one just register a second Facebook account and use that for the check-ins? I don't really care if Facebook knows where "Bob Smith" has gone.
    • I don't really care if Facebook knows where "Bob Smith" has gone.

      That would be an EULA violation citizen. Ten years hard time on the chain gang at minimum.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:01AM (#45025849) Homepage Journal

    I bet career criminals love this new-ish trend of people voluntarily letting the world know when they are away from their homes and valuables.

    Jim's Facebook Timeline -

    8/17: Jim bought the newest 80" 3D flatscreen, here's a picture of it in the living room! WOW what a big picture!

    9/23: Jim just got a new gold iPhone 5s! FTW!!!

    9/28: Jim posted 264 photos taken with his Canon DSLR

    10/1: Jim checked in at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to use their wifi! Hello World!

    10/1: Jim just found out that while he was at BB&B this morning, somebody cleaned him out! Sad panda :(

  • I would use this instead of the mobile data I already pay for because...?
    • Because you can use a laptop without having to pay for tethering on top of what you already pay for mobile data.
      • What do you mean, paying for tethering?

        • by tepples (727027)
          United States wireless customers have allowed their market to become screwed up. They let U.S. carriers get away with charging more if they detect that a PC is using the connection. Carriers may have various ways of detecting this, such as deep packet inspection of HTTP headers for HTTP user agent header values associated with browsers designed for PC operating systems, deep packet inspection of HTTP headers for content types commonly associated with PCs (such as Flash, Java, and Windows executables), DNS r
      • by GrahamJ (241784)
        Who would pay for tethering?! It's the same data!
        • It's not the same data. A mobile device won't be viewing SWF animations or downloading Windows service packs.
          • by GrahamJ (241784)
            So? Data is data no matter what file type. If I pay for, for example, 5GB I can use it for whatever I want.
            • If I pay for, for example, 5GB I can use it for whatever I want.

              U.S. wireless carriers rely on oversubscription. If a carrier sells a smartphone data plan with a 5 GB capacity, it relies on most subscribers underusing that 5 GB, not pushing the connection to within 2% of their cap every month like PC users are more apt to.

              • by GrahamJ (241784)
                - I'm not in the US - I don't care what carriers do as long as I get what I pay for
  • You check in and people automatically know that you're not home. Brilliant. On the other hand, wi-fi is not as useful to me as it once was. The 4G speeds I get seem to be just as fast, or faster, than any wi-fi connection. Plus, I've got at least some security with 4G. No thanks Facebook. Take your "free" wi-fi and stick it where the sun don't shine :-)

    • Consider it a service to help you avoid being shot and killed during the robbery when the robber mistakenly thinks you're out because you have the lights off but doesn't have FB to verify.
      • That would be fine if you live alone. Otherwise you are exposing your spouse and children to harm if they are home and you are not. If you want to let FB handle your home security that's your business. I prefer to handle it myself.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      4G is decent when it's working, the problem is that it's frequently not available indoors: many buildings are "dead zones". I frequently see this on my TMo phone; the 4G will drop off inside large buildings (such as a big-box store), even though regular voice service still works. The in-store WiFi, inside Target for instance, makes up for this since I can use that instead when I'm comparing prices.

  • Difficult to find? (Score:3, Informative)

    by twocows (1216842) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:11AM (#45025949)
    Difficult to find? Hardly. I'm all for faulting Facebook when it's deserved, but the "skip check-in" link is in plain sight (link [wordpress.com]).
  • On iOS, trying to connect to a captive portal pops a limited version of Safari (no cookies, etc) and on Android and other systems, AFAIK you need to manually open a browser to see the login page.

    If you try to connect to a free wifi to only check your email or play an online game, it just doesn't work.

    Is there any way to tell a device "Open a browser and load this URL" when they connect to a wifi?

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday October 03, 2013 @11:45AM (#45026347)

      On Android, I use WiFi Web Login

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.uk.syslynx.wifiwebloginapp&hl=en [google.com]

      Teach it how to click "no thanks, just log me in" and off you go.

      • Upvote since I don't have mod points. I use and love it. Though it may have increased battery draw, I haven't fully diagnosed it yet. The other version I found in Play store was ugly, not well translated, and not 100 pct reliable.
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      A lot of people think the Internet is http/https only, and Facebook stands to gain from perpetuating that myth. IMAP doesn't let them display ads.

  • Not anonymous if you are the only person that day perhaps

  • Why connect to a free and often slow/overloaded wifi when most people get acceptable 3/4G service around town ? If you have a laptop and you have to get that paper submitted most people just goto a starbucks or McD's.
    • Why connect to a free and often slow/overloaded wifi when most people get acceptable 3/4G service around town ?

      Because not everybody is willing to pay hundreds of dollars per year for 3/4G, and some people are too shy to ask random individuals to let them tether to their device.

      • by zlives (2009072)

        get a job you damn hippy :)
        also do you really need wifi access at the mall? and mall!! who buys stuff in person anymore
        i jest mostly...

        • get a job you damn hippy :)

          I have a job. It doesn't pay as much as I'd want. Internet at home already costs me hundreds of dollars per year; why should I pay hundreds more for Internet away from home? I can't just drop Internet at home and use mobile Internet while at home because my usage pattern on one device alone would exceed the typical 5 GB per month cap for Internet away from home.

          also do you really need wifi access at the mall?

          Occasionally I do while waiting for public transit. And only recently did I discover the hotspot inside the Barnes and Noble store.

          and mall!! who buys stuff in person anymore

          People who don't

    • by huge (52607)

      Why connect to a free and often slow/overloaded wifi when most people get acceptable 3/4G service around town ?

      Because my "service provider" charges me my first born son for roaming data.

  • AC is now the proud owner of facebookwifinetwork.com and facebook-wifi-network.com.

  • the "skip this" button is noticeably difficult to find.

    Haha, love it.

  • Not really a new idea, using facebook likes or check-ins to allow wifi access has been a feature of many captive portals for a while now.
    see http://www.recaptive.net/features/facebookgate/ [recaptive.net] , http://www.cloud4wi.com/social-login [cloud4wi.com] to name two off the top of my head.

    The only thing now is that facebook is providing a direct authentication return to the access point, currently cisco and Meraki (not mentioned in the summary) and no doubt coming to Aerohive, Aruba etc very soon . They're just making it easier to c

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