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Public Guest Wi-Fi Network To Be Available in Judicial Branch Facilities

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013

The Judicial Branch has begun implementing a public guest Wi-Fi network in courthouses and other branch facilities. Initially, the service may have limited accessibility because most courthouses have few “hotspots.” Additional hotspots will be installed over the next six months, with the goal of full access in all Judicial Branch facilities, including the Minnesota Judicial Center, by the end of June 2013.  

“Publicly accessible Wi-Fi has become commonplace in recent years,” said Mark Moore, Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technology for the Judicial Branch. “We see installation of a guest Wi-Fi network as part of our effort to improve customer service and to assist our justice partners when they are working in court facilities.”

The free service does not require a password. In almost all court facilities, it appears as MJB_Guest when Wi-Fi-enabled devices are turned on. Before gaining access to the network, individuals are presented with a “terms and condition” dialog box, which they must “Accept.”

In the Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County), Wi-Fi access is being provided through the Hennepin County Government Center and the HC_Guest network. This network also does not require a password and is accessible in most district court common areas and offices. Over the next several months, additional hotspots will be added to expand and strengthen Wi-Fi coverage in courtrooms, judicial chambers, and publicly-accessible conference rooms.

Use of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in court facilities continues to be governed by local rules and practice. Some courthouses completely prohibit the use of mobile phones or computers. In courthouses that do allow use of these devices, some judges prohibit their use in courtrooms. Minnesota district courthouses are owned and managed by the local county government.