Budget committee discusses Wi-Fi at the courthouse

By | November 8, 2018 11:07 am

One budget amendment was passed re-classifying a special education fund to “other equipment” fund. Shortly thereafter, Commissioner Cain Rogers told the committee he didn’t know if it was a budget committee topic, but he wanted to discuss how the wireless internet worked at the courthouse. He also wanted to know from officials if there has been an issue in the past of people sitting in the parking lot to access the internet and, therefore, taking away parking spaces from those who are there for courthouse business.

Rogers was curious as to who had access to the internet and if there was any concern about sensitive information being leaked from the courthouse. Chad Marcum, White County director of finance, addressed Rogers’ concerns and explained how the system was set up.

“The [wireless] is segregated out from anything else in the courthouse,” said Marcum. “Everything in the courthouse network is hardwired in.”

Denny Wayne Robinson, county executive, explained at one time Sparta police had asked him if courthouse officials could turn the Wi-fi off at night when they leave. Robinson said he explained to the police department that there is not an on/off switch that will do that. He said the system would have to be re-booted every morning when employees came back into work. He told the committee that he had talked to Ben Lomand Connect about setting up a system that would shut the wireless access off at night.

Several ideas were presented by different committee members about how they could curb public access to the system, such as putting a buffer on it or password-protecting it. One commissioner brought up the subject of someone accessing something criminal in nature and the IP address being traced back to the courthouse.

“Any time we do anything for the public, there are people who abuse it,” said Robinson. “Do we punish everybody because we have a few abusing it? I don’t know what the right answer is there.”

Marcum explained there are firewalls in place preventing access to certain websites. After some discussion it was determined the subject would be bound over to Steering Committee B for further discussion.

The next White County Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3, directly following the Solid Waste Committee meeting.

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