The International Olympic Committee recently revealed that mobile hotspots are not allowed at this year's Olympics. While you are permitted to use a your smartphone or tablet inside the venues, personal or private access points, along with 3G hubs and a ton of other items, are not allowed inside. Then, on Friday morning, this picture was posted to Twitter. The poster claimed that the man in the photo was a WiFi hotspot hunter. Someone employed to patrol the arenas for unauthorized WiFi hotspots and shut them down.
As soon as we saw the photo we got in touch with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and asked them to verify what was going on in the picture. The Committee told us Ofcom, the UK's telecoms watchdog, was in charge of WiFi at the Olympic Games and redirected our question there. Ofcom told us that this was definitely LOCOG's arena. Since then, LOCOG has indeed gotten back to us about the picture. According to them, the guy in the photo isn't looking to kill your WiFi hotspot at all.
"This has nothing to do with Wi-Fi," LOCOG told us in an email. "The engineer pictured is monitoring radio frequencies to ensure that there is no interference to the airwaves during the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
We asked if personal WiFi hotspots could be considered a potential interference (there has already been issues with overcrowded networks interfering with event equipment and preventing commentators from receiving necessary data regarding the events). LOCOG said they'd get back to us on that one.
[Update] LOCOG has said that they have not put any controls in place to stop 3G services. Check their full statement below:
"LOCOG is providing the most dense coverage possible for 3G data across the Olympic Park. We have been working with all of the mobile operators to ensure a consistent experience on the publicly available networks, and have not put any controls in place to stop 3G services. With our Partners BT we have also provided Wifi services at an unprecedented level throughout our venues. To maintain consistency and integrity of our operational systems we do request that devices which can act as personal access points are switched off and that devices designed solely for this purpose are not brought into our venues."
Image Credit: @SadaoTurner