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Using public WiFi and GDPR

  • Fellow
  • Practice Licence
  • 52 posts
  • # 116778

I have been without internet for a week which is very frustrating when most of my work is on cloud based software.  I have a payroll to process and am unsure if I visit the local library and log onto QuickBooks using my own laptop, am I infringing my clients and their employees rights under GDPR by using a public network even though I am logging into a secure sight? Does anyone know?

Edited at 25 May 2018 01:18 PM GMT

Edited at 25 May 2018 01:25 PM GMT

  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 16 posts
  • # 116779


Not really a direct answer to your question (although my initial thought is that using the public wi-fi might have been an issue even before GDPR ?) - however, have you explored whether you could tether your laptop to your mobile phone and use that as a data connection (if you have the right phone etc)?

Not sure about the security implications of this, but it seems safer than public wifi ? - and you wouldn't have to leave your home ! (assuming you've got ok data reception !)


Kind regards,


  • Fellow PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 144 posts
  • # 116795


As I understand it, the GDPR is all about not using personal data in ways
not previously agreed and about understanding where there is a risk of data
beaches accruing and performing a risk assessment. So using a public Wi-Fi
in its self is not in breach of the GDPR. You would have a problem if
there was a data breach and you have been found not taking adequate
measures to secure your clients personal data.

Public Wi-Fi do not encrypt the data between your machine and the Wi-Fi
base station, so there is more of a chance that someone can grab the data
stream. This is slightly mitigated by the fact that QuickBooks uses https,
which encrypts your the data between your browser and the servers at Intuit.

In general it is never advised to use a public Wi-Fi spot for sensitiveness
data, without taking steps to secure your connection. Security people
often recommend the use of VPN software to secure your connection.

I have used ProtonVPN (for personal use), and I've also heard good things
about tigerVPN, both which work on multiple platforms, and whom have
privacy policies that mention the GDPR (I haven't read it thoroughly

Saying all this, when I have been this situation (only once lucky) I used
my phones 4G network, by setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot with a strong password,
actually turned out to be faster than the broadband I had at the time :-)


  • Companion Fellow
  • Practice Licence
  • 1126 posts
  • # 116797



Why don,t you use your own personal hotspot on your phone you can pay for extra data.  I have 10gb a month on my phone for moving about and visiting clients 

I pay for a software called IPVanish when on public wifi are logging in to client bank accounts, accounts systems or cloud payroll at the office.  Your files are encrypted at all times even when using a public wifi.   

This prevents hackers getting at any data as everything is encrypted and no one can track history not even my supplier, Google or bing.

Edited at 30 May 2018 10:54 AM GMT

  • Fellow
  • Practice Licence
  • 52 posts
  • # 116819

Thank you for the replies,  I have only just got back online this week, nightmare of 3 1/2 weeks.  I managed to satisfy deadlines through the use of 4G and the local library after discussing the issues with ICB support.  Now on with trying to catch up with my work.

I will look at the suggestions of VPN/VPvanish software for future use as more and more of my work is becoming cloud based.




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