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28317954_m featureThe Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the city of San Francisco has announced that the city will implement a small, free Wi-Fi spot within the city which will offer encrypted service and, it is hoped, usher in a new standard for other urban centers.

As Government Technology reports, CIO Marc Touitou was pleased to unveil what the city is calling Hotspot 2.0, operating out of a location on Market Street and offering the residents a connection free of security breaches. Ahead of the announcement, Touitou warned, “With all the data breaches you have seen, it becomes increasingly important to protect our residents.”

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Flavio Aggio added that costs were minimal,. “We took a few developers and technicians to develop this with our partners, but it doesn’t cost anything for the partner cities.” Hotspot 2.0 uses technology similar to that of banking companies, effectively locking the connection — known as AES256 encryption.

iHLS – Israel Homeland Security

According to HomeLand Security News Wire San Jose, California and Melbourne, Australia have also expressed the desire to use the technology — eventually enabling a “handshake” which will allow users to log-in from either location with the same devices and credentials.

The move comes in support of the city’s desire to lead the way in tech infrastructure — ensuring more jobs and an increased GDP by luring more valued tech workers into the city, something supported by research data. Touitou told GT, “We know [when] there is 20 percent of broadband penetration, you get a 1 percent growth in local GDP. It encourages people to have their tech companies here. And, because of the train on security, everyone wants Wi-Fi, and everyone wants secure Wi-Fi.”

The United States had previously led the way throughout the 1990s in the provision of broadband access, but that ranking has now declined, with the country currently placed at fifteenth amongst the thirty most developed and developing nations.