While everyone was focused on the guy in Florida getting arrested for using an open WiFi connection, it turns out a similar case was already under way in the UK. Broadband Reports points out that someone has been found guilty of connecting to an open WiFi network and fined. From the sound of things, he could have been jailed for a year, but was let free under certain conditions. The actual crime appears to be: "dishonestly obtaining an electronic communications service and possessing equipment for fraudulent use of a communications service." Hmm. It would seem that an awful lot of people are probably guilty of the exact same thing. Since when has a WiFi enabled laptop become "equipment for fraudulent use?" This guy was just standing outside of a building with a laptop. Again, it doesn't look like he was doing anything nefarious with it at all. At least he wasn't charged with it. The article unfairly compares the guy to the Lowe's WiFi hackers who were stealing credit card info. So, again, it's worth asking where were the "losses" here? The guy was using radio waves that were sent out into the public. From the description in the article, it sounds like he didn't do anything wrong. He didn't "break into" anything. He didn't do any damage. He didn't cost anyone anything. With many computers (not clear in this case) they connect automatically to open WiFi, so he may not have even chosen to connect to these networks. There may be more to this case (not too many details are given), but from the details reported, it's hard to see why this is a crime at all. If he did cause damage or break into things, then it's a different story -- but those are the details that should have been reported.
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