Within the Nordic languages is a concept that could be called a "hierarchy of foreignness".
Someone not from your own family or village, but whose background largely overlaps with your own might be classed as utlänning ("foreigner"). A person from the same culture, but with differences of background, such as a visitor from a distant city, would be främling ("stranger"). Someone from a completely alien culture with no shared language or traditions would be described as varelse ("being").
Historically, where unexpected visitors fell within this hierarchy determined the strength of welcome they received, from shared shelter to swords drawn.
Our "hierarchy of association"
Something like this hierarchy maps rather nicely to the way Jisc provides connectivity to people who visit our members’ campuses. Our particular "hierarchy of association" might look something like this:
1. Local members
Staff and students on their own campus enjoy the maximum levels of trust and might use organisation-only production wireless local area networks (WLANs) for day-to-day connectivity.
2. Federated visitors - "utlänning"
Visitors from the public sector associated with colleges, universities or research centres, who are bound by similar policies of acceptable use and device management, can be connected via a federated roaming service such as our eduroam or govroam options.
The benefit of federated roaming is that the absolute minimum of personal information is required to grant access, so the overheads of achieving General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance are minimal.
3. Associate visitors - "främling"
Somewhere between federated visitors and the public are visitors who have some association with the college or university, such as a delegate to an academic conference.
You might know something about them in advance and could offer a more comprehensive network experience than you would to a stranger.
The litmus test here is whether they are visiting because yours is an education organisation – for example attending a conference you are hosting.
If, however, they are on campus to visit a café or to stay in student accommodation during holidays, then presumably any other café or hotel locally would do just as well. You can’t argue that providing enhanced connectivity services to them is linked to your educational mission.
If an associate visitor passes this test, then it is likely that you may provide them with extended network services, such as eduroam Visitor Access without risking your status as a private network. Were you to provide such services to a member of the public, you risk your network as a whole being classed as public, and incurring various legal responsibilities as a result.
4. General public guest - "varelse"
Members of the public may be passing through campus on a right of way, or visiting campus shops or recreational facilities.
They can be provided with a connectivity option that is appropriate to their limited level of association with your organisation. You choose the degree of personal data you gather from them when providing such services under the GDPR. For example, you might request contact details so that you can follow up with a satisfaction survey, or you might require sufficient information to charge for the connectivity provided.
These categories do not have rigid boundaries - you might choose to treat people who log in to eduroam from your own organisation differently than you do eduroam visitors from elsewhere. Similarly, the prospective student visiting for an open day might be an associate visitor, but you might not extend that same level of access to accompanying family or friends.
Here’s how our portfolio of network access services map on to this new model for visitor and guest provision:
There’s a final category in the hierarchy of foreignness - the djur ("beast") - a hostile thing that lacks rationality and self-awareness and can’t be befriended.
Perhaps that can stand as a reminder that however we structure our connectivity solutions, there may be wolves at the door who will do harm if we let them in. Understanding our visitors and their relationship with us, and providing the right access for their needs will go a long way towards keeping the wolves at bay.