On Feb. 2, 2018, the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Köln ruled that Unitymedia NRW may use its customers’ routers to establish an exhaustive WiFi network by means of switching on a second WiFi signal (“WIFI Spots”) without requiring explicit consent (“opt in”) by the customers. According to the ruling, however, Unitymedia NRW must ensure that customers are able to opt out.
The Higher Regional Court states that the company has legitimate interests in implementing additional functions to expand its range of services. The ruling also took into account that many Unitymedia customers want to use WiFi spots outside their private homes. Against this background, the court balanced the interests of Unitymedia and the customers and decided that the use of the routers does not imply an unfair burden for the customers and has to be tolerated if the customer did not object by opting out. The Higher Regional Court’s decision is not final yet.