One of the amenities a state would be expected to provide visitors to its buildings is public wi-fi. There are often long waits in government offices. Clients, customers, suppliers and others will often want Internet availability to keep in touch with their offices and to provide information to the government functionaries they are visiting. If the government expects people to vegetate in waiting rooms until they are in danger of developing decubitus ulcers on their fannies, the least the state can do is allow them to check their email.
In fact, there is guest wi-fi access in Michigan government buildings, called SOMGUEST. However, as is typical where Michigan state civil servants are involved, it is almost impossible to use. A log-in is required, but none of the employees the visitor is allowed to contact know what it is.
After unsuccessfully requesting log-in credentials in several Department of Health and Human Services offices, I noticed a building directory listing for an IT office in a major State office building in Detroit, Cadillac Place. Although it seemed a good place to request a password to use SOMGUEST wi-fi, the office was locked and no lights could be seen through the glass door.
On the way back to the elevator, I got lucky. I noticed a man wearing a state-employee ID badge and the distracted gaze of a computer technician heading toward the IT office. As he was unlocking the door, I asked him about the SOMGUEST security key. He did not know it, but he gave me the number of the Department of Information Technology in Lansing, 800 968 2644.
It was necessary to penetrate about six levels of virtual telephone receptionist to reach a human. This person provided the number to call for the security key, 517 241 0880, which is changed frequently.
Apparently, the head of the state’s IT department thinks SOMGUEST access should be guarded scrupulously against unauthorized use. Why they think a terrorist would weaponize SOMGUEST instead of using a computer at a public library is a mystery, but if you call for the security key be prepared to take down a 10-character security key of mixed upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2015 John B. Payne, Attorney