Fined For Using Someone Else's WiFi

from the where's-the-loss? dept

While many, many people still feel there's absolutely nothing wrong with piggybacking on someone's open WiFi, the police don't always agree. We've had a few stories in the past about people getting arrested for using someone else's WiFi, or even threatening to arrest people for simply using a cantenna. The latest such story, sent in by Steve, involves a guy in Illinois who was fined $250 for "theft of services" after a police officer spotted him sitting in a car, using the open WiFi of a non-profit agency in the middle of the night. The police go on about how you could get a year in jail for this. Again, though, it's not clear why this is a crime. If the guy were trespassing, that's one thing. However, if he's sitting on public property, using an open WiFi signal that went beyond the property boundaries... it should have been up to the agency to secure their WiFi. Also, there's no way anyone can claim any real loss in this situation. It was the middle of the night. No one else was using the broadband connection. The police are quoted warning others to beware that they, too, can get arrested and spend a year in jail if spotted using a laptop in a car. Can't wait until someone using an EVDO or HSDPA cellular data card in their car gets arrested by a police officer who doesn't recognize the difference.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Pierre Jauvin, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:31am

    WiFi (not encripted signal use)

    The behavior of the police in this country (US) is becoming more and more like it was behind the iron curtain in the old days! If someone is broadcasting a WiFi signal (un-encripted) that person , obviously want any one to use it. That why all wifi system have the capability to be encripted. I think that the police should have better thing to do than this. Like , if they are concerned about it; how about giving seminar to the public to make them aware that they can protect themselves if they are concerned of giving free signal to anyone being able to receive it. Most of the French quarter in New Orlean has free WiFi supplied by the city to promote tourism and help their citizens.

     

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    John C. Sanders, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:31am

    Arrest for piggybacking on open wireless network

    As I see it there are three possibilities here. 1) The arresting officer had too much time on his hands and is one of those officers who engage in the sport of arresting or ticketing people for little known (or enforced) technical violations of law. I knew a cop who ticketed a horse rider for allowing the horse to walk on a paved highway without having rubber horseshoes.; 2) The police believe, correctly or incorrectly, that the person they arrested was committing or about to commit another crime, like burglary, and had insufficient evidence to charge him with that other offense; or 3) When questioned the guy was uncooperative and/or evasive or otherwise pissed the officer off.

     

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    Argo747, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:50am

    What about...

    The police might as well just arrest all of us and get the suspense over with. It seems like everything these days is an arrestable offense. More arrests, more budget for the police, even more arrests... blah blah blah Go stop an murder or something fellas!

     

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    giafly, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:53am

    This sort of thing used to be legal

    "In 1948, only 10 percent of the American population had seen a television set. This didn't mean that 10 percent of us owned a TV....most people did their viewing in a public location, such as a department store, tavern, or store window. 3 million people watched the final game of the 1947 World Series on TV, and 90 percent of them watched in a public location."
    Lisa's Nostalgia Cafe

    [BTW Mike: why is the word "false" at the top left of the comment page?]

     

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    Mario, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:56am

    Lame

    Using the same pretext, the cops should arrest people watching TV programs from outside a TV retail store, because the passer bys would be stealing the store's paid Satellite TV service.
    Or worst, cops should start arresting everyone watching a Baseball game from outside the stadium, like Wrigley Field for example, because that game is property of the MLB and they would be stealing the service MLB is charging for it to everyone inside.
    It's a lame world, isn't it.

     

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    YouGottaBeKiddinMe, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:00am

    Ummm...Panera Bread, anyone?

    I was in Florida and needed to check my e-mail. Found a Panera Bread, I drove up to the parking space right in front, opened my laptop and VOILA!!....I'm in.

    So let me get this right....if I did this in the middle of the night while the store is closed, and presuming they don't shut down their equipment, now I'm stealing bandwith?

    Nnnnnnoooooo....don't think soooo....

    I would get a good lawyer, the kind that really likes skewering stupid interpretations like this...

     

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    ChronoFish, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:00am

    Fine the WAP

    The police have it wrong.

    That WAP is sending its signals across the dudes antenna.

    The Wireless Access Provider (the non-profit group in this case) should be fined/arrested/jailed/etc for causing a public disturbance. I mean what if the guy is only 14? They are forcing access to X-rated content on an innocent under-aged computer user!

    -CF

     

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    Scott, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:19am

    Re: Lame

    Key difference in your analogy? One way interaction in watching TV, the signal is sent out and no return is performed.

    "That WAP is sending its signals across the dudes antenna"

    WiFi requires bi-directional communication, if he were just intercepting something like streaming there would be no theft of services. He actively went back across their property to get access.

     

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    Andy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:24am

    How about some personal responsibility

    The guy using the WiFi connection probably didn't know anything about the non-profit organizations terms of service regarding their connection with their ISP. He didn't know if they had a limit on how much data they could upload/download each month before extra charges might be incurred. And he didn't care - so he was stealing, even if nobody else is using it at the same time. Many people say it's the owners problem for not securing their WiFi connection, how about the people with laptops who connect to a WiFi signal that they have no reasonable expectation is a public service (obviously doesn't include the likes of Starbucks and Panera Bread) take responsibilty for their own actions instead of blaming other people. If I'm at home and I don't pay for broadband access because I'm to cheap, then if my laptop finds an open connection I'm pretty sure it's not mine to use as I please.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:29am

    OPEN wifi at MOST McDonald's Locations

    This is no different than bringing your personal computer laptop into the office where you work in, and opening up a web browser on it during your lunch break...

    Sure, the open wifi in your office was intended for work only - but now since you are using that open wifi on your personal computer, it is a crime... or at least in comparison to what this article quotes.

    BTW, there are open wifi hot-spots at just about all McDonalds across the USA. Would it make a difference if I just parked my car infront of the MD's and opened my laptop's wifi... or would I have to purchase a $.99 burger first, for this to be alright.... and then there is the case of doing this at 3am and using the excuse of, "I was just waiting for them to open in a few hours.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:33am

    OPEN wifi AT MOST McDonald's Locations

    This is no different than bringing your personal computer laptop into the office where you work in, and opening up a web browser on it during your lunch break...

    Sure, the open wifi in your office was intended for work only - but now since you are using that open wifi on your personal computer, it is a crime... or at least in comparison to what this article quotes.

    BTW, there are open wifi hot-spots at just about all McDonalds across the USA. Would it make a difference if I just parked my car infront of the MD's and opened my laptop's wifi... or would I have to purchase a $.99 burger first, for this to be alright.... and then there is the case of doing this at 3am and using the excuse of, "I was just waiting for them to open in a few hours.

     

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    lilwip, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:38am

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    That is such a lame arguement. By your arguement, if I am sitting in my apartment connecting to MY wireless connection and my Windows XP Laptop decides that my neighbors unencrypted linksys has a better signal and uses it, then I could be arrested for this? Or if I am on my porch? In my Driveway? You should secure your access point if for no other reason than to SECURE your NETWORK!!!!!!

     

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    Spike, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:42am

    You know, you double-posted.

    That's theft of space. Someone else could have commented there.

    I honestly have to agree 100% with Andy's response here. Theft is theft, pure and simple. Yes, they should secure their wireless network, so that company's IT Department has some explaining to do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:47am

    if he wasnt allowed on it IT SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN OPEN, im tired of seeing stories where people are negilgent with data security or access secuirty and someone "steals" it and gets in trouble.. it should be the responcibility of the wap owner to NOT LEAVE IT OPEN period, end of story

    it isnt illegal to use something that is offered freely in public..

    the TV analogy is very good, if you leave your TV on, and viewable by anyone, you cant go arresting people who watch it! its madness... turn your damn TV off. or face it away from the windows

     

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    Andy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Exactly - it's your computer and your using it but you propose that it's not your resposibility to connect to your WiFi ? People compain about people not securing their network, but how do you know there isn't a reason they haven't secured it - doesn't mean they keep it open for free loaders.

    Perhaps they are to computer illiterate to secure their network, or perhaps the free loaders or to computer illiterate to connect to the right service, or just to lazy, or are just to cheap to get their own connection ?

    You're the one using the computer - you're the one connecting to the internet - how about accepting this as your problem and not the person who didn't secure their network. It's called taking responsibility for your own actions rather then infering your right to access the internet because of the inaction of someone else.

     

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    Dan, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:00am

    What's Next?

     

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    Andy Landen, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Use the correct analogy

    Let's take the wireless analogy to the wired domain and see how it looks. Cable services are delivered to a home. The owner splits the signal through a wire (let's say CAT-5e, to make this analogy simple) which he directs out of the door, off of his property, and into his neighbor's house. His neighbor sees the cable and connects his router to it, so that all of his computers and TVs have access to it. Who is at fault (if anyone)? Wired or wireless, the analogy holds the same conditions: services offered to one person are delivered into the personal property of another and are accepted.

     

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    Dan, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:07am

    What's Next?

    What about the satellite radio subscriber who listens to thier music outside? Am I to be arrested if it's turned up too loud, and I hear it?
    What about if I stop by a store window and use the light spilling out from thier front display to read my 's display?

    "Excuse me sir, I need to take you in for using thier light, while listening to her XM radio..."

    Yikes!

     

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    ChronoFish, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Okay - accept responsibility.

    You opened up your network to the public.

    Case closed.

    -CF

     

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    lime, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:10am

    Re: by Spike on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:42am

    I think that whole line of logic is ridiculous, it is the responsibility of the equipment's owner to ensure that the signal does not 1.) waft to unauthorized areas, and 2.) be secured. Should either or neither of those criterium be met, then they have no room to press charges or complain. If this was something that was worth protecting from carte blanche usage, then perhaps some forethought should have come into play PRIOR to it's actiavation. Otherwise I'd start going after the non-profit that was mis-appropriating funds by egregious incompetence in the IT department.

     

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    C. Smith Run, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:12am

    Hold both sides accountable...

    Why, in this day and age, shouldn't the company be just as responsible for their inaction, as the User is for his action?

    There is no excuse for not securing your network, and there is no excuse for using a service if you are unsure of your privledges to it.

    In the end though, the techs in the company should have more knowledge about this than your average internet user, therefore, they should have tied up their WAP if they didn't want it wandering off it's territory.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:12am

    wifi is not just used for laptops....

    Other uses for WIFI....

    Lets arrest all the people who use their WIFI enabled Pocket-PCs in public - since obviously they are not paying for that WIFI service.

    And what about the kids and their NintendoDS or PSP handhelds who just happen to be in a WIFI Hot-Spot and are playing online - can you be absolutely sure that they didnt pre-pay for that service in that exact spot where they are located?

    Lets arrest everyone with a WIFI enabled device who is not at home, on their own home network... because they are obviously stealing bandwidth when they are anyplace else.

     

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    Jimmy Bear Pearson, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:14am

    More questions than answers...

    Articles like this seem to be more frequent of late on news spots. I don't think someone should be fired unless they are doing something that is explicitly against the law. However...

    Reading the comments always unleashes a tide of questions for me... Maybe those who are much smarter than me can answer some questions.

    How is this different from wiring a box that lets one decrypt and use satellite video signals? How is this different (other than the initial trespass) from hooking a long cable to one's neighbor's cable connection and using the video feed? If the host person's WiFi is coming from bandwidth paid for by the host person, why is it not wrong to use that person's bandwidth without permission? Is the host person's WiFi networking security ignorance such a crime that "someone should take advantage of because they should have secured their network?"

     

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    Andy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:15am

    Re: Use the correct analogy

    But that's analogy does not work as it requires some effort on the part of the cable subscriber to take the cable over to the neighbors house. And so you could infer that they are giving you permission to use their cable connection.

    Not securing their WiFi connection does not require any effort on the part of the cable subscriber, whether that be by choice or through ignorance - you should not infer that you have permission to use their cable connection.

    Now if they went to the effort to walk next door to say 'Please help yourself to my WiFi connection' - now you could infer that it was ok to use their WiFi from that :)

     

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    Kevin, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:18am

    No difference...

    It doesn't matter if you access a network through an open WEP, crack the encryption key, walk in and sit down at the company's computer, or hack in through a their firewall, it's all illegal, if they didn't give you permission, and covered under the same law(s).

    Securing my network is my choice to attempt to block someone who decides to break the law. Just like locking the doors on my car. If I don't lock the doors on my car, it's not legal for you to take something out of it, or take the car.

    And yes, if you have WiFi, and your neighbor has WiFi, and he didn't secure it, and his is a better signal, and you access it, I'm sure he could press charges under the exact same law(s).

    Somewhere along the line, people decided that it's not breaking the law if no one has gone to great lengths to keep you from doing it, and that is wrong. We go to great lengths because too many people assume that it's fine, as long as it's easy.

    Next someone is going to complain because they get arrested for shoplifting, even though the store didn't wire that shirt to the rack...

     

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    mark, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:18am

    out of bounds.

    Me thinks the police doth over-reach. That officer had no business making the assumption anything was being stolen, for one thing. At night he had no way of determining with any certainty where the radio signal (remember, wireless?) was originating from. Therefor, no probable cause. Local police have no jurisdiction over matters of Radio Frequency Energy, any more than they should be telling a Ham Radio Operator he can't operate his station based on a neighbor's complaint of interference. They should be leaving such matters to the FCC Enforcement folks. If the owner of the wifi was originating a complaint for theft of anything, they should've been told to encrypt or otherwise indicate they weren't providing it for free. Then, like encrypted voice communications, one could reasonably assume they were not intending it to be received by the general public and was therefor protected. This is what occurs when people with no knowledge of radio start combining that with the law.

     

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  27.  
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    Turner, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:21am

    Re: Unsecured Wi-Fi

    Do you not password your machine? Then why would you not wep your wireless. If they are not going to secure their wireless then it's their own fault. These companies need to stand up and hire someone to set it up correctly or expect that people will be able to access.

     

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    KAB, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:22am

    Radio

    Your son leaves his plastic baseball bat at the neighborhood park my son and are at the park and use the bat to play ball (we don’t know you or your son). Did we steal the bat? No, we used what was left in the open.
    Or…
    If this is illegal than I plan on buying as much radio equipment as I can to hog the airwaves in my apartment complex. Once I monopolize the airwaves I will rent them back to my neighbors.
    Or..
    If you turn your blackberry speaker phone on and walk by me and I hear your conversation and you pick up something I say and the person you are talking to hears it have I illegally used your cell minutes? No, you facilitated my voice carrying over your phone because you did not set it up properly.
    Or…
    If I stop next to your car at a stop light and roll my window down as to hear the loud music you are playing on your car stereo am I a thief? No (RIAA’s hopes aside). Even if you argue that it is a one way signal I can become a thief by interacting with the signal by bobbing my head or playing air guitar with the music.

     

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    todd, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:24am

    RE:responsibility

    We all have to be logical here-common sense tells us that there are free wi-fi access points open to the public and there are private access points that only the owner has a right to use-PERIOD. I think arrest in this case is a little overboard-until there is legislation to create laws to deal w/ this fast moving technology- dealing with this kind of problem, maybe a warning to the "thief" and the IT guy being fired may be a more appropriate response

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:28am

    Just Secure the damn thing

    It's not that hard to turn on WEP or MAC filtering.... In fact... As educated IT folks, we should force the issue.

    Case in point: One of my Neighbor's in my Apt Complex had an unsecured Wireless Router with an SSID of MIKE... So I changed my SSID to USE_MIKES_ITS_NOT_SECURE..... Was that wrong?

     

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    Sham, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:30am

    Your using a service that another person has paid for without their consent. Your using another persons equipment that they paid for without their consent.

    Just because a moron buys a walmart router and doesnt understand fully about the need for network security doesn't give other people the right to take advantage of him or his equipment for free.

    The fact is people in this world are slowly losing their capacity to differ between whats morally right and whats morally wrong.

     

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    TxOcelot, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:30am

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    I agree, and of course the 3 million spam e-mails (anolitical assumption based on numerous other stories like this, of drive by spam dumping on open WIFI connections) he was sending out over THEIRr broadband connection wouldn't get them blackballed on some lists, there by making their own non-profit but (presumed) good meaning e-mails all for naught. Good for the cops for doing their job and letting the court system decide if he was simply surfing to pass some boredom on another groups dime, or if he was dumping more crap in our inboxes.

     

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    Blaze, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:31am

    why??

    This is a ridiculus argument if the busniess was more secure it would be a null issue. Now if you are truly stealing WI-FI then you would have to hack a securte network that would be stealing. Just using free airwaves to do some browsing is not stealing its called free for a reason.

     

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    zcat, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:37am

    Walk next door? No. Just broadcast it over RF!

    'cos that's what WiFi does. It constantly sends out a packet that basically says "Free WiFi here, come and get it" along with all the details you need to connect up. If you don't want people using your connection, stop broadcasting 'permission' to everyone within range of it!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:38am

    So - If the front door of your house is unlocked I can come in and take anything I want. I mean, it's your fault. You should have secured your house.

     

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    Overcast, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibi

    Okay - accept responsibility.

    You opened up your network to the public.

    Case closed.

    -CF

    I must say - I have to agree completely. Either that or the business should have posted a sign stating the the open WiFi access they were BROADCASTING isn't free.

    Afterall, if he found the network, I'd say there's a 98% chance that WiFi network was broadcasting....

    Typcially - when something's broadcasted - such as TV, Radio, etc - it's pretty well considered public domain. Afterall, could a radio station sue you for tuning in if you don't have their express persmission to do so? hmm - again, public airwaves, broadcasting....

    If he knew the Network ID, and Security strings and "hacked" in, it would be different.

    The business was broadcasting an open, unsecured WiFi connection. In all seriousness, he could simply use the defense that he thought it was WiFi provided by the city (There's a few cities that do this now and even more working on it). Of course - that all depends on what he said to the officer at the time of arrest, of course :)

     

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    TxOcelot, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:42am

    Re: Walk next door? No. Just broadcast it over RF!

    I beg to differ, unless of course you named your SIDD "Free Connection" or otherwise made it clear by the labeling it was open to public access. Just because you leave it unsecured, does not mean it is FREE. The logic your imploring their is about as good as leaving your front door open to get some fresh air circulating, and everyone on the block reading that as "free beer in the fridge, help yourself", it isn't up to you to decide if they mean free, or if they mean keep out. It is up to you to find out and be sure of the intention of the owner.

     

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    Andrew, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibi

    I'm so tired of people on sites like this putting in their "definitive" arguments (usually a badly misspelled run-on sentence with no clear point) and saying, "end of story" or "case closed."

    Yes, this issue raises some strong sentiments, but in legal concerns it's just not clear cut yet. I think their are dual responsibilities. Yeah, that non-for-profit org should have locked down their access. That doesn't make it okay for some jerk to use that internet even though it may cost that org money.

    Bottom line... I have solved this... no more comments... The End... Period.

     

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    Dave Keys, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:44am

    Mi Casa es Su casa

    My WIFI is running 24-7-365, 366 on leap year for anyone who wants it. I don't think my telco made any fuss about me sharing my bandwidth. My neighbors can use it if they want but it looks like they all have their own. You could drive by my house, park and hook up but the homeowners assn. will probably have you towed if you hang out for more than about 36 hours...

    I guess the police needed an excuse to tag this guy hanging out in the middle of the night. I wonder if there was a city ordinance the court used to fine him, or if it was state penal code...

     

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    mark, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:45am

    "Next someone is going to complain because they get arrested for shoplifting, even though the store didn't wire that shirt to the rack..." This analogized to the original situation, would come out as breaking into the office at night and plugging in to the office's connection. For decades, the originator of a radio signal understood that if he sent it out into the countryside, it was going to be listened to, and watched his language, unless he scrambled it somehow to prevent it from being converted to plain speech. Nobody entered the office, they sent an electromagnetic wave into the area, which is easily converted into a usable signal by openly available means. The law as it stands was drafted by those more willing to cater to a whining cellphone industry than to take the trouble to understand what they're dabbling in. As soon as nobody is left using an old cellphone, and the old Conventional Analog FM equipment is removed, leaving only digitized (read encrypted) cellphone signals, the case makes itself for reversing the law. Once again, though, in the above case, there was no probable cause for the officer to do anything without a complaint by the office originating the connection, and then only for trespass, which in my state requires someone to refuse to leave, or having the property posted no trespassing. If the guy in the vehicle was on company property and it was posted, the farthest this should've gone is a trespass citation and maybe a tow if the officer was mean or the trespasser flunked the attitude test. I just hold to the historical standard of "if you don't want radio listened to, make it private." A law is not the proper way to compensate for technical ignorance. And, lest you think I am anti-police, I spent 28 years in the business of law-enforcement. Half of that as a licensed Ham Operator.

     

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    Whateva, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:49am

    Right on.

    I like the previously posted analogy. Just because something is open or accessible doesn't make it right to access it. Joe public is not a data security expert, and people are allowed to use technology without having every little detail figured out. It is wrong to assume that every open WiFi is exploitable. I don't have much qualms about it, but if you get caught, don't bitch about it and try to piss in my ear and call it rain.

     

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    DJ Twiztid, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:51am

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    I think the FCAA say it best as most of the government when they say air waves are free and can not be charged for it. You can scramble the signal and charge people for use of your equipment to make it usable again. But being fined and arrested for something the government deems free to the public is not right. I have a WiFi spot here in town and I make damn sure there's a WPA on it. If someone hacks into my WiFi then there's an issue of invasion of privacy. WiFi is nothing more then radio waves sent out by the wireless AP. It is no different then your car picking up a radio station or your TV picking up a TV station. It all works off of the same radio frequency. It is the owner of the WiFi to make sure it's secure. Just a little insight from a PC Tech that was trained in tv and radio communications.

     

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    Tigger, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Wha??? OK, you're saying that if You're too illiterate or stupid to "secure" your cash in your pocket and your cash lands in the Wal-mart parking lot it's MY responsibility to not take it? Is it stealing for me to pick up a 10 spot that's left in a public area, unsecured? I'm not talking about morality here, but legality. If it's valuable to you, it's your responsibility to secure it.

     

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    jboomgaa, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Lame

    Though I agree with it being the responsibility of businesses and users to secure their own networks if they do not want others to assume it is for public use, I think some of these analogies are getting out of hand.

    Scott put it correctly when he said that using wifi is bi-directional. You are requesting something over the other person's network, not simply picking up information already being sent.

    Thus analogies such as listening in to other's radio programming and tv's make no sense, because yes it would be wrong if instead of just listening to that persons tv or radio you reached over and started changing the station

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:54am

    Again - if you broadcast something outside of your property lines - who can say that's true?

    If you leave the beer in the street - who could say a person walking by was stealing it if he opened a can and drank it? After all - you were leaving it open to the public.

    He didn't break in and use their information systems - which someone would have to do to get the beer IN your house.

    If someone leaves their WiFi open and someone leeches bandwidth - yes, it's their fault. They are telling the digital WiFi world "Here's an open Network".

    Again, if they didn't want to WiFi to be used - they shouldn't broadcast a signal.

    Just like ignorance of the law is no excuse - the same applies here. If you are stupid enough to leave your beer in the street - expect someone to take it.

    I'm not saying the guy leeching the WiFi isn't at fault also (he knew what he was doing) - but the business is the one who opened it up to public use.

    Assume - for the sake of arguement.. He was in Covington, KY. Half the city is wired for free WiFi access - so if some half-wit user accidentally uses a business' network - who would be to blame? the business for leaving it open or the person for using it?

    Seems like they are both at fault. Perhaps the FCC should look into the business broadcasting outside of their propery lines? Isn't there laws about what business can and cannot transmit over the airwaves?

    See the differance between stealing Wifi and stealing a beer is that they have to trespass and/or enter the presmises without consent. This guy never did either - assuming he wasn't sitting the their parking lot.

    It boils down to this - if you don't want your WiFi used by whomever - secure it. Personally, I could care less, mine's wide-open. So anyone can use it if they like. All my shares and such on the PC's are firewalled and proper security is applied to the computers, so I'm not worried about it.

    So if someone pulls up outside my house and starts using the WiFi does the cop have the right to give him a ticket? I don't care if he uses it or not.

     

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    someone else, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:54am

    well there is not a proper law to fit this situation that seems to be arrising everywhere. if you setup a wap.. did they read the manual that tells you how to secure it? just like using a bat that is at the park.. it's not theft if it's in the open and you use it.. then leave bat when your done. hard choice to make

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:55am

    Anyone who attempts to justify accessing someone else's WiFi as legal is simply doing just that - justifying it.

    The fact is, it is the private resource of someone who set it up for a particular purpose - normally to provide himself (and perhaps his family) with wireless access to HIS network, which just so happens to be connected to the Internet.

    Let's assume that this WiFi network does NOT have Internet access. Should an interloper be allowed to peruse the local LAN? After all, it's "coming across his antenna". Should he be allowed to snoop on the homeowner's private information?

    A direct correlation to this would be cable service in an apartment building. If my neighbor has cable, and his cable runs inside the common wall between our apartments right next to my phone line, do I have the right to tap into it and get cable service? After all, there's no loss, my neighbor doesn't know the difference, and the cable company doesn't lose money... Well.. They do, since I won't pay for cable. That's why if you are discovered, you'll find out what the legal penalty is for theft of service. Same with hopping a free ride on a train or plane - it's gonna go to it's destination anyway, right? No loss here... But wait.. That's apparently illegal too.

    This is the same thing, folks. It's a private network, secured or not. Unless you have been given OVERT permission to use it, you do not have that permission. Any attempt to justify it otherwise is simply ignorance of both the law and probably a desire to just do whatever the hell you want to do 'cause you feel it SHOULD be the way you want it to be. And I see that as no different than file sharing - we all know it's illegal, but yet some persist that it should be made legal - just because they want it to be so.

    Get over it. Accessing someone's WiFi, secured or not, without permission is illegal, and that's the end of the arguement.

     

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    DJ Twiztid, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: How about some personal responsibility

    correction...FCC not FCAA. long day.

     

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    TxOcelot, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:00pm

    "Again - if you broadcast something outside of your property lines - who can say that's true? "

    Not talking about receiving only, by maintaining a connection to an AP, you have no longer remained outside any property lines, but established and failed to sever emmediately a connection internally of that persons property.

    Just as laws for shared wired phone lines made it illegal to remain on the line when another party was using it, (yea going back a while, but I remember them) The law then was based on moral responsible action and trust. You violate such, and your both morally and legally liable. What is the difference? Those days, you picked up the handset, listened, if it was in use you hung up. Maintaining the connection was a violation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibi

    If I fail to lock my front door and someone comes in and takes my television, is that stealing?

    If I fail to lock my network and someone comes and jacks all my bandwidth, is that stealing?

    The .net's not exactly Mayberry, but taking something that someone else paid for without their permission is stealing, whether it's bandwidth or that flatscreen.

     

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    heavyw8t, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:02pm

    Blame

    I blame this kind of thing on what I cann "The AOL Mentality". AOL is designed so every stupid newbie on earth can plug in a phone line and be on the Internet in 10 minutes. We have dumbed down the gear and shortened the learning curse so much that every jackass on earth can use it with no basic knowledge of networking, in this case encryption. I say take away the "quick start" portion of manuals and make people read about how to use the gear as it was intended, not just well enough to make it work. I drove down a street that had strip malls on both sides with my Dell Axim. In 4/10ths of a mile I found 17 networks, 11 of them not secure. Connected to all 11 just to see if they had ANY kind of security in place. None. Now, some travelling salesman who needs to send one email and knows that if he sits outside the Borders store he will get a connection does so, is that illegal even though Borders is a hot spot ON PURPOSE? Gray area after gray area with this stuff.

     

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    Marshall, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:03pm

    Laptop's illegal?

    ok, I knew that using a laptop while driving was illegal, or even having someone in the vehicle use one while the car is in motion is illegal... well at least around here it is, because they say it's a distraction to other drivers. Well, it's no more a distraction than driving behind a van with little kids watching a video. In fact I find that way more of a distraction than a laptop.

    Even still, WiFi is a free service, unless otherwise set up by the provider and it's not like the guy was circling the place, scoping it out, trying to find the best place to set up a bomb.

    If it's illegal to get WiFi on your laptop in that case, than shouldn't cyber cafes be illegal too? Same idea, isn't it? Whatever, Keep the articles like these coming, this is intresting.

     

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    zcat, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:04pm

    Free TV

    The front-door analogy is bullshit. Nobody's entering your property. How about if you left your TV or laptop right out on the curbside and someone came by and grabbed it.

    Could you claim they stole it because you didn't have a sign saying 'Free'? In this case you've actually had some property taken, but don't expect much sympathy from the police!

    In the case of WiFi, your signal is right out on the curbside _and_ you're hardly inconvenienced _and_ even if it's bothering you, you could switch on WEP any time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:05pm

    There is a huge difference between having an usecured WiFi network and having an usecured WiFi network with the SSID of "Public Use". The second grants de facto permission to use it. From a legal perspective, you cannot assume use of private property except in certain circumstances that are already codified into law (such as the public license to enter the private property of a mall - which, of course, has the right to kick you out if desired). There is no such exception for a computer network, or, for that matter, for a wireless service.

    To use the "beer analogy" above - if I leave a keg of beer in the street and you drink it, you HAVE broken the law - you've committed larceny - you've stolen my property. If I leave the keg in the street with a sign saying, "FREE BEER", then you are welcome to it - because you have my PERMISSION.

    What do you think would happen if a bag of money fell out of an armored car onto the street where it was left for several hours? Do you honestly think that it suddenly becomes ownerless and that you have a right to take it? Same with a WiFi signal. Just because it leaves my property line does not make it any less "mine". Or do you expect that your cellular calls and cordless phone calls are suddenly up-for-grabs because they leave your property line? Mind if I browse the phone book on your Bluetooth phone? After all, the Bluetooth signal left your cell phone in a public area. Better yet, will you be pissed off when I monitor the call you're making with that cool Bluetooth headset? Hmm, seems that it uses a standard pairing code of "0000" - looks like you didn't bother to secure it.

     

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    mark, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:06pm

    What several posters forget here is there is a big difference between leeching bandwidth (doesn't it seem to be human nature to get as much for as little?) and the officer having any legal reason to believe a law was being violated. This whole area of law is regulated at the Federal level. Local political jurisdictions have no more business trying to govern it than they have to tell you how many channels your TV is allowed to receive, or what technology you are allowed to use. That takes place far over the heads of anyone at the state level or below.

     

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    Networking Geek, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:07pm

    Negligence is no excuse!

    Yes, anyone can subscribe to high speed internet access. No, there are no requirements for training to do so. Yes, anybody can go to "Walmart" and purchase a cheap wireless router. However, the person who purchases the product should be the one to be held liable, not the person taking advantage of the free service that was available to him. Should guns come with labels on them saying "CAUTION, MAY KILL PEOPLE!" No!, and wireless routers should not have to come with labels saying "CAUTION, MAY PROVIDE INTERNET ACCESS TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOURSELF!"

    Pretty absurd huh? If arrests are to be made in cases like this for "theft of services" than the person who provided the open network should also be arrested. The onus should be on the person providing the service to prove that he did everything in his power to secure the network. If the provider can prove that the network was hacked, more power to the police. If there was no B&E into the network, no theft!

     

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    Crumb, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Responsibility

    Saying 'the network was not secure, therefore it is not theft', is like saying 'the door wasn't locked, so it was ok for me to rob the house.'

    Yes, the door should have been locked, but the theft is not excused.

     

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    Crumb, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Responsibility

    Saying 'the network was not secure, therefore it is not theft', is like saying 'the door wasn't locked, so it was ok for me to rob the house.'

    Yes, the door should have been locked, but the theft is not excused.

     

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    catsfall, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Mi Casa es Su casa

    I think the only fuss about you sharing bandwidth would occur when someone sits on the street and downloads a bunch of DVD files through your network. Personally, that would make me pretty upset, especially if I was sitting in my house trying to download music at the same time.

    It seems pretty clear-cut. Using someone else's wireless is theft. It's the same as if you walk into someone's house when the door is unlocked and eat some of their food and take a bath in their bathroom, then leave before they come home.

    Since the homeowner didn't secure the home in the example above, if caught you will only be charged with illegally trespassing. If you had broken the lock to get in, it would have been breaking and entering at a minimum. In this case, the law takes into account the owner's responsibility to secure the home by providing a lesser penalty for the offender- but that certainly does not change the fact that an offense did occur.

    The same should apply to anyone using an unsecured wireless connection- if you don't know that it is available for free access, then you shouldn't be on it.

    And for those who bring up McDonald's and other free access points- around me, those free access points always direct you to a free registration page first, so you know who is giving you that nice free access.

     

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    Chris (co-owner of MaD MarQ llc), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Ignorance is bliss

    How can anyone take things seriously from people who can't even post a name. Anonymous Coward is about right. Could be someone else's WiFi. But DJ said it right with radio waves. If you don't know the technology then don't get into it. Anyone who has a computer heard the term nothing is ever safe connected to the internet. If you haven't then you need to take a class in computers. It's other peoples ignorance to say people should be honest. I have yet to see someone out there that's 100% honest. There's not one person on this board that can say they've been honest their entire life. It's the american way to get things cheaper if not for free. And seeing the radio waves are free...why not leech off of them for free. You access someone's computer from a WiFi and do damage or get personal info then you get a problem with the law. My business revolves around internet security and repair. People who don't know what they are doing with cars, computers, anything that can be sold these days is a wet dream for the people who sell and service them. Try educating yourself before you get into the new age. Otherwise you get to see me about fixing the computer someone ruined because you broadcasted the info out there without securing it. Not our fault you can't read the nifty directions that come with the WAP.

     

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    Anonymous Coward #42, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:11pm

    Seems like nobody has touched on the part of the story that really pisses me off:

    "The police are quoted warning others to beware that they, too, can get arrested and spend a year in jail if spotted using a laptop in a car."

    Let's forget about the morality / legality of open WiFi. I can't even use my laptop in a parked car?!!?!??! WTF??

    Hello Mr. Orwell, my name is AC#42, I guess you were right.

     

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    Scott, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Free TV

    HEY WAKE UP...you are connecting to my access point on my property, going across cables that I own, to a service I pay for, all at MY address.

    WATCHING TV AND LISTENING TO THE RADIO IS A ONE WAY DEAL.

    Did you notice that is a one way deal on TV and radio?

    Repeat after me TV and radio broadcasting are one way communications.

     

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    Vincent, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:31pm

    Where you miss the point

    The law is already clear here, as the FCC points out any signal that passes into the public domain is public. the DMCA adds the caveat that it becomes illegal to decrypt a signal short of that at best you are guilty of loitering. I have a WIFI connection that is secured with encryption and one IP that is in the DMZ for use by any who can get it. I use WIFI all over town, but also share mine. As far as thier agreement with their ISP it is the responsibility of the person to remain with in the confines of that agreement. And by the way if you leave your car running and unlocked you are commiting a crime in IL at least. If the signal is in the public it is public.

     

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    MJ, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    I live outside the US so I have poor knowledge about the legislation behind this. But I know there are people who leave their access point open on purpose. These people do not want anyone to ask their permission before using their bandwidth. Is it illegal to use this kind of access when you have no way of knowing if you have permission or not?

    I guess it becomes illegal if, after a person has been caught, the access point owner tells police he/she did not want others to use the connection. So, if two persons are caught in front of your house, you could say that the young lady certainly has permission to use your connection. But since you don't like the looks of her boyfriend, you tell the police to write him a $350 fine.

     

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    James, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Friggin Pigs

    Must be nice to have a job where the highlight of the night is busting some poor guy using free wifi that the providing company was too stupid to wep secure.

    It must have been the end of the month quota type stuff... and people wonder why the police force has not respect.

     

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    DJ, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Look up laws people.

    Any lawyer with half a brain could get this guy off. The FCC clearly states that picking up radio waves (of any type) that fly through the air is perfectly legal. A great example of this is something that the same law enforcement people did themselves. They used to pick up cellular calls and use that info to get warrants and whatnot. It was legal because they were simply picking up signals flying through the air.
    Anyone who has a cordless phone can be listened to using a fairly cheap scanner. The same sort that can pick up police radio. The police have spent thousands o the trunking system so that it's difficult to hear both sides of their conversations. Would they have done so if it were illegal to pick these symbols up? I think not.
    Then again, they do love spending that funding they get on other stupid things.
    Not to even mention about the recent cases on not being responsible for what other people do while on your WiFi.

     

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    Toots, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Still....the company should have secured it

    Sorry....of all the posts that I have read here, I have never been compeled to post until this. I'm sorry but when it comes down to it, it is the company who bought there service resposibilty to secure thier network if they do not want intruders on it. That is why there is why securing was invinted. So logically if they did not do it they were happy with letting every Tom, Dick and Harry use there service. Where I live our police have there own WFI set up all around the west side, unsecured, do they go around bitching becasue people sit outside and use it? No. Some people just need to learn to keep there stuff secure, others need to get in the age of computers, the internet, and techs, and others needs to stop whining.

     

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    Toots, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Still....the company should have secured it

    Sorry....of all the posts that I have read here, I have never been compeled to post until this. I'm sorry but when it comes down to it, it is the company who bought there service resposibilty to secure thier network if they do not want intruders on it. That is why securing was invinted. So logically if they did not do it they were happy with letting every Tom, Dick and Harry use there service. Where I live our police have there own WFI set up all around the west side, unsecured, do they go around bitching becasue people sit outside and use it? No. Some people just need to learn to keep there stuff secure, others need to get in the age of computers, the internet, and techs, and others needs to stop whining.

     

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    Rod, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Radio and XP

    So if I have my WAP wide open at home with a default SSID "linksys" then head to work and open up my laptop and it connects to the next door "linksys" automaticaly I'm at fault!!! Maybe it microsoft thats at fault. Secondly the FCC has to control radio stuff like wifi I've read all kinds of stories and interprations of the laws but somebody needs to get the record straight. I plan to leave my wifi open wifi for everyone!!!

     

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    mark, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:40pm

    One way

    And the signal that little wireless card in the laptop sent out is one way...until your WAP responded to IT! Please folks...lock your "door", take your "key"....

     

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    Toots, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    Blah

    Oh...and death to sticky keyboards and the companys that won't clean them!!!

     

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    DJ, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:43pm

    BTW

    There wasn't an apparent reason given for why the officer confronted this guy in the first place. Sitting in your car on public property is not a crime unless it is posted. Last I checked this wasn't communist Russia or nazi Germany. Looks like we're headed for the ever closer police state. My grandparents must be rolling over in their graves. This isn't the sort of "freedom" they fought so hard for us to live in.

     

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    Paul, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Water? Phone?

    If the company in question had a water hose accessible from the street (off of their private property, so no tresspassing) and there were no signs or anything saying "Employees Only" and there was no type of security to prevent someone from using the hose, would someone get arrested for using the hose to get a drink or wash their hands or wash their car?

    What if there was a free phonebooth, accessible without trespassing, no security devices and no signs saying employees only.. would someone get arrested for using it to make a call?


    If someone is "stealing" someons open WiFi then it is really only the fault of the person who didn't put any security on it.

    It takes 2 clicks to enable WEP on an access point..

    I would agree, however, that one should get fined or arrested for gaining unauthorised access to a SECURED network, be it from hacking the wep key, guessing it or somehow obtaining it otherwise.

     

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    Mike Shizzle, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:50pm

    Cops better be schooled...

    Soo... what about people like me that purposely open up their AP for public use? Does that mean people that use it will be arrested?

    Bullshit.

     

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    mYSELF, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:01pm

    No crime here.

    If I pick up a 20 dollar bill off of a street corner and put it in my pocket, is that a crime? come on no story here, judge will through this out quicker than anything.

     

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    REparsed, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:01pm

    Open Connections

    If you want to share your connection leave your router open. If you'd rather not share then close it!

     

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    Ali, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:06pm

    WTF

    I'm a business owner and I use my laptop in my car all the time. I have cingular data service also since I have clients all over I at times use their wireless internet access to either check my mail reply to some thing urgent or even provide remote support. So what the hell these cops are going to mess with innocent business owners too know to feed their funds. That is so lame.
    They all need to get a life and focus on some real crime.

     

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    Jeanne, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:15pm

    free wi-fi

    I'm sure the router manufacturers will soon be shipping routers with wep enabled in the default configuration so enjoy the free access while it lasts.

     

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    durtgurltx, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:16pm

    It seems like...

    for a lot of petty crimes, the 'victim' either decides to press charges or doesn't. How do we know that the non-profit even gave a crap about what he was doing?

    Seems like having an open connection is more like leaving a pile of old furniture on your sidewalk; most people will assume it is theirs to take if they so desire unless something (like a sign or an access key) indicates otherwise.

     

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    Chaplin, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Welcome to the USA

    You leave your cow out, someone may come and pump her utter...

    its not acceptable, and definately inapprop, but hey... if you dont want her giving out free milk put her back in the barn.

    I'm thirsty.

     

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    mach1, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: What about...

    I agree with argo747, This is getting ridicules with the police arresting anyone and them being wrong, they have no technical knowledge, so it should be up to the law makers to research this issue and come up with laws if needed, but then they come up with too many laws and instead of seeing how laws that are in place now are working.

     

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    darren, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:31pm

    so if there frequency inturrupts my service?

    are they liable and subject to jail time for not securing there frequency?

     

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    zoobuhs, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:39pm

    RE: by Anonymous Coward #42 on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1

    "Let's forget about the morality / legality of open WiFi. I can't even use my laptop in a parked car?!!?!??! WTF?? "

    You got it Anon! This is the basis for the policeman having the ability to fine the person in the first place. The law has nothing to do with WiFi interception/transmission. It deals with safety concerns of someone driving while using her laptop (i don't see how using the GPS display is much different, but anyway).

    So, the officer can cite the person for one thing (using a laptop in the car --while in the driver's seat, with the keys probably in the ignition--), while his motivation for citing her is rooted in something unrelated (using someone's wireless access point (presumably, without the AP owner's knowledge).

    "Spirit of the law" concerns should be able to get this guy off. But it's ultimately up to the judge.

    It's kinda like the racist police officer who pulls over an Indian because he doesn't like Indians, but he can justify pulling the Indian over because her tailight didn't work. Not a perfect analogy but you get the idea.

    Was the person with the laptop thinking about driving while using it? Probably not. But it's her word against the cop's. Sucks doesn't it.

     

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    BlueDribble, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Ummm...Panera Bread, anyone?

    I believe you have this incorrect: In the case of Panera bread (at least all I've been to that have WIFI) you have a screen to which you have to accept their terms and conditions to get to the net.
    This IS a contract between you and Panera allowing you to use their WIFI. Doesn't matter if you do this at 3am, or 3pm, when the store is open or closed: If you go thru their sign-on screen, they have permitted you to use their net. There cannot be one of these "You used their WIFI illegally" in this case.

     

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    Logical, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:46pm

    Think about it

    Not going into the merit of whether the network should be secure or not, it's irrelevant...

    If I leave my car, unlocked, windows open, even with the door open, and a bag of money on the seat. If you walk by and take it, you are guilty of theft. You could allege that I am an idiot to have done that, you could even be right, doesn't matter... you're guilty of theft...

    end of story...

     

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    Sam Alex, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    What law did he break???

    I do look at using someone's open wifi connect as an extension of their property, and not unlike putting up a fence if someone doesn't want me to use their wifi they need to enable encryption.

    Most folks wouldn't object to someone cutting a corner through their yard or turning around in their driveway -- if they did then they should put up signs or fences... wifi is exactly the same. I'd not hesitate to cut through someone's backyard who has no fence nor visible message telling me to keep out, just like I'd not hesitate to use someone's open wifi connection.

    But there are limits... the few times I've used open wifi it's mainly to check email, get quick map directions, or something simple -- not surfing for an hour or downloading torrents. That's like pitching a tent in someone's back yard.

    There are limits to everything, and though technically I guess someone could sue someone for turning around in their driveway or walking through their backyard for a shortcut between point A and B, I've never seen such a case. Why is wifi so different ????

     

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    IMoL, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    I'd better watch out I don't get arrested for theft next time I play golf then, because every time I pick up a golf ball that some kind player has accidentally allowed to be found in a public place (trees/rough etc), I'm doing the same thing.

    Ludicrous overstepping of bounds by the Police.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Laptop's illegal?

    Not all places that have WI-Fi are illegal. Some places like cyber cafes have information saying that granted you access to use thier bandwith. They give you permission, but going around and jumping on someones bandwidth that they have paid for thier business or personal use is illegal. The signal just does not float around you. It has to cross there property lines and use resources they pay for allow you to surf the net. The law does not say I have to lock my car when I park it but do I yes. Now even if I was stupid and left it unlocked that does not give you the right to open the door and take what you decide you want. Its illegel to use someone eles things for any type of personal gain even if it is for just the pleasure of surfing the net unless you get permission.

     

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    Robert Leaverton, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:00pm

    Again, Tech before the Law!

    I think it is a crime but not in the way that the police are looking at it. It is a crime that they are spending time arresting people for using what clearly is intented to be used. If the not for profit did not want anyone to use it they could have secired it with no problem. Locking a WiFi is as simple as using it. So they are making it open to whomever could access it, plain and simple.

     

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    Anonymous Patriot, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    The arguments here - if they can be called that - all boil down to one of two world views, one side are folks who feel the need to live their lives by tightly constrained, black-and-white, legalistic, explicitly stated and defined sets of rules. These are the folks who say things like "theft is theft,"? ironically confuse infringing copyright with stealing, think that using an open WiFi access point is stealing, and want to clamp down and secure and charge for everything in the world. Because that is what is "fair" in their view. They behave very much like young children with candy.

    The folks with the other world view believe in the free exchange of information, freedom, moral reasoning that includes shades of grey, sharing, and being guided more by a sense of the golden rule than by any explicitly stated set of rules. This group understands that even if something is illegal, it still might not be wrong, and that something that is wrong might not be illegal.

    The thing is - that these groups will NEVER agree. Their world views are mutually exclusive. One wants to clamp down and impose law, the other wants to open up and encourage freedom. One wants to share, and the other wants to charge. Unfortunately everybody starts out, as children, in the first group, and clearly not everyone grows out of it, so there are naturally more folks in the former group than are in the latter. On the plus side, because those in the first group are working on a relatively primitive level of moral reasoning, they CAN grow and become those in the second group - but in America it doesn't happen nearly often enough. And so we see people getting arrested for using open WiFi.

     

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    Tom, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:08pm

    I always leave my wifi network open for precisely this reason. If there's someone outside and needs access to the internet, I don't mind if they use it. I don't want the cops to be harrassing people that are taking advantage of my generosity. I encourage you to leave your network open for strangers too, untill you find a good reason to be paranoid. Long lost Xenia.

     

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    pendrachken, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:12pm

    get over it idiots

    get over yourselves, hippocrits. you would use open wifi if you could find it. PLUS the FACT is you could access the pentagons internal networks from the putside by exploiting security vulnerabilities and it would still be legal IF YOU A) DO NOT DESTROY DATA B) COPY DATA TO SELL OR USE AGAINST THE AGENCY C) LEAVE BEHIND MALICIOUS CODE meaning that you could use their cluster to compute quantom physics if you wanted to... so long as there was no damage to the everyday use of the data on the networks.

     

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    Andrew, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:12pm

    Why is this still going on?

    Hey... I thought I made it clear that I had solved this issue already. See comment number 36.

     

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    ntlgnce, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:19pm

    Someone should call the police department and tell them that.....

     

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    zcat, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:24pm

    forget unfenced yards and open front doors

    we're talking about radio signals that are crossing public property _and_ are not encrypted, _and_ are on frequencies which I have FCC (or correspoding government agency) permission to both recieve and transmit on.

    Encrypt it, sheild it, or shut the fuck up.

     

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    Evert, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:24pm

    Lets look at the other side

    Should a Wifi be able to use the public airwaves? If I own a store and put advertising out on the sidewalk won't I be told to remove the signage. Whats the difference? Maybe this charity should be fined for using public airspace.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:27pm

    "No one else was using the broadband connection"

    How do you know that. They could have had a client try to upload data to one of there servers.

     

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    prshaw, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:28pm

    So we all agree

    If you don't want me to take what you have, then you better be better at locking it down then I am at 'using' it.

    It is no longer that if it belongs to someone else you need to have permission to use it. It is now if I can take it then it is your fault for not having better protective measures.

    Just wondering if this also applies to your car? If you aren't driving it, and I have a 'key' that will open and start it, then is it ok for me to take it and blame it on you for not securing it from me?

     

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    AGeek@BestBuy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:33pm

    Fined For Using Someone Else's WiFi?

    Here's the real deal...It is up to the owner of the wireless router or modem to encrypt it so no-one can piggy-back on their system. If they fail to do so, anyone with a computer with antenna is free to use that signal, as long as they aren't trespassing on the owners property. I have friends that live in condos, and use someone Else's ISP for free. When we are dispatched to set-up a wireless system in someones residence, we always encrypt it. By the way, it is also VERY easy to hack into wireless owners computer and steal info!

     

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    Christopher Hinojosa, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:36pm

    Unlawful

    It is the responsibility of the owner of the wireless router to secure their network because they are fully aware by software notification and by user manual/setup instructions to change/setup a password for the router. If they fail to arrange a password, they are then publicly sharing their connection. And if the police officer doesn't know enough about the technicalities of the subject matter, then he has no business issuing tickets to those who AREN'T violating the law.

     

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    lewscroo, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:37pm

    you may be able to argue something like 'diminuous usage' of their service. similar to if you threw out your trash in somebody elses garbage can. as long as its something miniscule, like say a candy wrapper, i believe that it has been ruled to be allowed. Obviously it would be illegal if you and your neighbors shared one trash bin to cheat the garbage collectors out of revenues, small amounts would be allowed. so if the guy was freeloading off the connection to download illegal files or was hogging all the bandwidth then thats another story.

     

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    Jason, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    Meanwhile down the block....

    Someone was getting mugged.

    I think that this is retarded. It's like if someone's tree is growing over your fence, into your yard, you have the right to trim it back, or pluck the fruit from its limbs. This WiFi tree happened to be sprawled out over onto public property, so he was merely picking up it's WiFi fruit =)

     

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    David Hergert, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    You people are crazy

    Are you kidding me? You really think he wasn't stealing? So if a grocery store doesn't have doors or cashiers to ring you out, then you are free to take whatever you want?

    If there is an outlet on the side of a government building, are you saying it would be perfectly legal for me to plugin an extension cord and run it to my house to power my things? I mean, c'mon, they should have turned off the outlet when no one was using it right? Or removed it at night?

    I was in the parking lot the other day and noticed a car with its door slightly open and the key in the ignition. So I figured, hey, the owner should have locked this up, so I am free to take it. So I did. Crazily enough, I was arrested within hours. Can you believe it!? The nerve of those cops to arrest ME for using another persons car when THEY left it open!

    Do you need more examples? Seriously people. Yeah, I agree people should be responsible and not make their networks accessible. But it does not give others the right to exploit it...if they do, they are criminals.

     

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    wickedsun, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    Think about what you just said. Do you really think that connecting to a WiFi connection is the same thing as entering an unlocked house? Wait a minute there buddy.

    Air waves are not anyone's property. A house is. Next.

    A simpler analogy:

    A website. Publicly accessed. Right? Did Google say "We allow you to connect to us!" or is it implied that a website is publicly available? Is it possible to block access to something on a website? Yes. Ok, good. Take website and replace with WiFi.

    Should you be arrested for connecting to a website at 3 am?

     

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    javajolt, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:00pm

    Using Someone Else's WiFi

    this just shows how this country is becoming more and more a Police State!!

     

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    Matt, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:00pm

    The moron who installed the wireless point should have read the fucking manual. None of this would have happened.
    Its not goddam rocket science.

     

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    nominal, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:08pm

    Re: What law did he break???

    You can probably get away with cutting a corner through someone's yard. Kids do it through mine all the time. I hate them for it. A big fence around my little yard would look dumb and signs are tacky. I shouldn't have to pay for an expensive fence (look into those prices) when it's already illegal to trespass, and the sidewalk's on the other side of the road. They do it when i'm not home and there's often crap in my yard like doritos bags or gum wrappers. Didn't some guy recently shoot a kid for playing in his yard? I heard the 911 call. If the kids tripped and hurt themselves their parents could sue me.

    The guy camped out next to the place to take wifi. A non-profit organization, so you're supposed to be nice to them to begin with. Especially if you're an anti-establisment I-hate-corporations hippie who thinks wifi should be free for everyone. He didn't go suck off of the many many places that offer public access like mcdonalds or starbucks or panera or a library or barnes and noble or somewhere.

    Going to an errant website while on wifi at work is different. You have permission to use the network. Likewise they get to filter things or monitor you at their discretion.

    My wifi is not secured. My little old lady neighbors would not steal it. if i find a car outside my house stealing wifi, I will call the cops and say he's peeping or something, or hide nails on the road.

    Let's not defend this lame-o. He's 32. He's a grown man, who's too lame to buy internet access, so he goes and SNEAKS it late at night from a non-profit agency from his car. That's kind of like climbing a tree with a radio to watch a movie at a drive in because you're too cheap to pay the $3.50 to watch it in a comfortable location. And being 32 years old. He probably couldn't go to a public place because he was probably watching porn. It's late at night, and he doesn't have a date. Losers should be imprisoned.

     

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    Mac in PA, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:13pm

    Using someone else's WIFI w/o permission is illega

    Using someone else's WIFI w/o permission is illegal. The problem is that the laws in the US haven't caught up with the technology yet. Here in PA, we can fit this crime into a few existing laws, but the judges and district attorney's don't want to charge, YET, because its too vague.

    Panera Bread - They allow you do use their wifi. Its advertised and encouraged. So, thats not illegal. Most libraries in PA, for instance, now have free wifi for anyone to use whether your a member or not.

    But just because you drive down the road and find and open wifi network, doesn't mean you get to acquire an IP address on that person or business's network and get to use their bandwidth. Its not the person's or company's responsibility to lock their wifi network down, although its a good idea. Saying that its the fault of the person or business because the wifi was open is like saying you were allowed to go inside their house or business because they left the door unlocked.

    Its illegal, but people will continue to get away with it for years until the law catches up with technology.

    Although my point of view is that its illegal, you have to show intent for theft. If I check into a motel/hotel, pop open my laptop to work on a word document and I realize that I have wifi access, it could be a defense to say that you thought it was the wifi provided by the hotel since most hotel's are beginning to do this. Although, sitting in the middle of a parking lot across from a business, I don't think you could argue that you expected to get wifi legally.

    This is what the lawyers will do to drag this out to death until the laws catch up.

    And lastly, I have these views because I am a police officer in PA and this is how I view the law. But I will agree that since no one seems to want to prosecute this YET in PA, it seems that the view is that, for now, its not illegal. I actually think it does fit into our theft section, but for now, thats just my view.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:14pm

    First of all, in this case I think the guy was in the wrong -- moreover he probably knew he was in the wrong because he was in his car at night outside of a business, but at the same time the IT department of this organization should show some professionalism and lock it down. It's not that hard to distribute a wireless key to the employees or something. They're both at fault.

    But some people are talking about this in a general sense, coming up with hypothetical situations and analogies that really don't have much to do with the specific case---such as what if the owner of the service is too computer illiterate to know to secure the wireless network? How about this situation: Joe Blow is too computer illiterate to know that his brand new Windows XP machine has just jumped onto an open network? What if he's paying for his own service but for some reason he's not even connected to his open 'linksys' router, he found Sue's open 'linksys' router. Is he now a criminal because he's just using "The Internet" like half of the Americans who get a wireless router for their house (this statistic was made up, but probably pretty close).

    I'm just saying it can't be as cut and dry as either he's using someone else's WiFi so he's a thief and should be arrested, or the provider is at fault and should have known because... she bought a wireless router. These are probably going to have to be determined on a case by case basis.

     

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    Laptop User, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:15pm

    Arrested for using a laptop on your car

    Jeez.....A think that statement is too vague. What if you were typing a document or watching a DVD on your computer and you were on your car?

     

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    Mick, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:17pm

    Police State is right!

    I went and seen that new movie V for Vendetta last nite and it startled me as to what the future could possibly hold for the US if things keep going in the direction that they seem to be going..Unwarrented wiretaps, unwarrented search and seizure...making it illegal to blow the whistle on the government...and now you can use your laptop in your car? I mean it might not seem like much but are the masses going to wake up from this terror crazed state and see the freedoms that are being taken away from us one by one?

     

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    ZippyHendirez, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:20pm

    Okay, let's think a second, folks...

    A couple of points:

    1. Legally, it is not the responsibility of the non-profit to secure the network at this time. It's a good idea, in fact a great idea, but it's not _legally_ responsible to do it, unless it can be proven that it is interfering with another signal, and even then, it's probably a civil case, not criminal.

    2. Keep in mind that he was _in the parking lot of the non-profit_, which is not technically public property, just like malls are not public property--they are publicly accessable, but private property. So the fruit over the fence analogy doesn't work--he was in the yard getting the fruit. If he parked on the street, the analogy would be more accurate. Then it would be a muddier issue.

    3. This can't be compared to TV and Radio for one reason: licensing. Wireless network equipment is not licenced, just like CB radio or FRS radio. But a TV or radio broadcaster must purchase a public license to broadcast. Wi-Fi may be airwaves in the public, but it is _not_ public airwaves.

    In the end, this case is almost certainly a victimless crime, but it _is_ a crime, legally speaking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward #42, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:21pm

    Let's see if I can figure out what might have been taking place:

    Man
    Man Alone
    Man Alone at night
    Man alone at night in remote area
    man alone at night in remote area on internet
    man alone at night in remote area on internet...is probably not checking the stock tickers....

    Who wants to bet the car was a rockin'? $10 says this guy is married and can't get his porn fix at home. Why else would a guy go park in front a building and jack (yes, pun intended) WiFi? In that case, the police probably do have some sort of indencency law to cite.

     

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    david, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:24pm

    Not a crime

    I'm a ex-wardriver. While I was doing this I checked into the FEC's rulings on using open networks. The rule is that if a network is open or if it only uses default settings then you are not breaking the law for using the network. Now if you crack their security you are breaking the law.

    Illegal, no. Unethical, depends.

     

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    Zippy Hendirez, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:26pm

    Oops

    The article does not say if he was in the parking lot or not, so disregard that statement of mine.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:28pm

    Re: You people are crazy

    Are you kidding me? You really think he wasn't stealing? So if a grocery store doesn't have doors or cashiers to ring you out, then you are free to take whatever you want?

    No, then something is missing. What's misisng in this case?

    If there is an outlet on the side of a government building, are you saying it would be perfectly legal for me to plugin an extension cord and run it to my house to power my things?

    That would involve actively plugging in. Not just having access.

    I was in the parking lot the other day and noticed a car with its door slightly open and the key in the ignition. So I figured, hey, the owner should have locked this up, so I am free to take it. So I did. Crazily enough, I was arrested within hours. Can you believe it!? The nerve of those cops to arrest ME for using another persons car when THEY left it open!

    Again totally different. Something is missing. You stole a tangible product.

    Do you need more examples? Seriously people. Yeah, I agree people should be responsible and not make their networks accessible. But it does not give others the right to exploit it...if they do, they are criminals

    So, yeah, you do need more examples, because yours don't apply.

    We can just as easily use examples going the other way to show you're wrong.

    What if you turn on a sprinler, and the water goes over your property and helps water the neighbor's plants. Did they "steal" water from you?

    What if you have a light outside of your house and it lights up the street. If I stand in the street and read under that light have I "stolen" your light?

    So, it's not quite as clear cut as you like to imply.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Okay, let's think a second, folks...

    In the end, this case is almost certainly a victimless crime, but it _is_ a crime, legally speaking.

    How so?

    You point to him potentially not being on public property (which isn't clear), but then he should have been charged with trespassing.

    Instead he was charged with theft of services, and I'm still asking what's *missing*. If something was stolen, something needs to be missing.

    If there's no loss it's hard to see how a crime was committed.

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    First of all, in this case I think the guy was in the wrong -- moreover he probably knew he was in the wrong because he was in his car at night outside of a business.

    Huh? Why does that imply he was in the wrong? The network was open, he needed connectivity, he wasn't clogging up anyone's network.

    Maybe he simply needed to connect for some reason. Why would that imply he *knew* he was in the wrong. He saw the network was open and it made sense to use it. Plenty of people would do the same thing -- and if the NY Times ethicist even says that doing so is perfectly ethical, why should we think it's "wrong"?

     

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    Praetorian_TMOTC, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:34pm

    C'Mon its a case of active VS passive

    Scott (Post No 6) had it right, if you were passively "viewing" the data coming out of a WAP then you have no problem, the analogy of TV/Radio etc will work here. However, when going on the internet etc aren't we forgetting that in order to RECIEVE a page we first have to REQUEST the page, that requires a active connection and thus we ARE trespassing by requesting that page.

    Yes people should secure their WiFi (if they know how - that's another argument), but we shouldn't just assume that because something is available that it's okay to just use it without thinking of the responsiblity involved. The futility of saying that "but its unsecured" and in their heads thinking "it's free" is just absurd. Take care and use open networks you want, just don't think that it's free because it's unsecured.

    --Praetorian_TMOTC

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Using someone else's WIFI w/o permission is il

    Using someone else's WIFI w/o permission is illegal. The problem is that the laws in the US haven't caught up with the technology yet.

    This makes no sense. You're saying that it's illegal even though the laws don't say it's illegal?

    Saying that its the fault of the person or business because the wifi was open is like saying you were allowed to go inside their house or business because they left the door unlocked.

    No, that's trespassing -- for which there is a clear law. Accessing an open network on public property isn't trespassing.

    Although, sitting in the middle of a parking lot across from a business, I don't think you could argue that you expected to get wifi legally.

    Why not? The network was open, and so it's reasonable to assume it's there to be used. There are no losses from someone using it.

     

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    Mike, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:46pm

    Learn some basic networking

    Ok kiddies, here is a BASIC WIFI lesson.

    Open access points broadcast ALL the time, "Here I am!!" Your network card says "Can I use you?" The reply, "Sure! Here is an IP address!" And away you go.

    As the OWNER set up the network to automatically INVITE people to use it, he should not be suprised when people do.

    This is more akin to asking a child if you can come in and take a bath. If Mom and Dad allow the kid to answer the door, and talk to strangers, they should expect strange things to occur. Mom and Dad might not like it, but no one can argue about permission. Kid gave it, so no crime.

    In this case, owner set up network to invite usage, someone did, no crime.

    If he sat there and decrypted their WEP key, that would be a whole nother story...

     

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    Tigger, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:48pm

    Read the article

    The linked news article says nothing about the fined user being in a parking lot, or trespassing, or doing anything indecent. The article expressly states that he was arrested and fined for using the unsecured wifi. There wasn't even a mention regarding whether or not the company left the access open purposely. The "crime" was remotely accessing another computer system without the owner's approval, not even "using a laptop in a car". We can discuss the issue of legality or not, but lets at least know what we are discussing.

     

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    EuroMarkus, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:52pm

    Not "THEFT OF SERVICE"

    Technically, this is not 'Theft Of Service', unless the non-profit sells Wi-Fi (provides the service).

    The creation of "Theft of Service" statutes were targeted at people stealing cable, running out on a dining check, etc -- people who used a vendor's services and had an obligation to pay, but didn't.

    The guy in the car was using an open AP, which isn't a "service" in this case -- the company wasn't running a non-profit T-Mobile Hotspot-like service in this case.

     

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    darren, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Think about it

    so money and information are the same thing to you? guess you'd be one who'd say money is a form of free speech.... how can you regulate what way information is passed....

     

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    Mike, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 3:53pm

    And again

    This has little to do with loss, it has more to do with implied permission.

    By setting up an open access point, you are doing the electronic equivelent of putting a sign on your front lawn saying free internet. IF you put that sign up but you don't read english, is that the fault of the person that reads it?

    I am sure that if I put a sign on my lawn that said, "Free tv,come inside and take it!" (in Japanese and I thought it just looked cool cuz of the letters) Would someone who understood Japanese that took your TV be guilty of theft? Nope. You invited em in. For whatever stupid reason, you did, and there is no crime... (cept stupidity)

     

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    FratBoy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:00pm

    Permission was given and a lease of an amount of time was given when you DHCP.
    Do idiots know what DHCP is? This idiot paid $250 because he and the cops don't know how things work.
    You better know how things work people, get a clue.
    So when you get DHCP, you knock on the door and then you are invited in, including a lease of time to use the service (renewable too).
    And lately a district court ruled that in a suit against google that when you automatically pass packets like a ISP does, you also have no liability because you are then just like a ISP, so there's no reason to lock down your wireless, and that's another reason to assume someone has left their wireless open for free access.
    READ: THERE IS NO REASON TO LOCK DOWN YOUR WIRELESS!
    DHCP gives you a IP address and gateway address so you CAN access the internet. Without it you couldn't use the router anyway, so it invited you to use it.

     

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    Aumaden, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:02pm

    Does anyone read the linked articles?

    The link about the $250 fine was for remotely accessing someone's computer. Yeah, he may have been using WiFi to do it, but he was hacking someone else's computer

     

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  128.  
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    Kaustav Ghoshal, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:03pm

    Ridiculous

    I believe it is ridiculous to arrest the person only on the charge that he was using someone else's wireless connection. The owner of the wireless network is at fault to leave his network unsecured.

    Moreover I'm not sure if there is any cyber law in the US that states explicitly that using an unsecured wireless network is illegal. Then how would you justify places like Starbucks, who provide free wireless internet?

    ~kaustav ghoshal

     

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  129.  
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    Wayne Schlagel, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Laptop's illegal?

    "If it's illegal to get WiFi on your laptop in that case, than shouldn't cyber cafes be illegal too? Same idea, isn't it?"

    No, not the same idea! And yes you are an idiot!

     

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    Mike, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:07pm

    nothing to do with sending or receiving either

    "Scott (Post No 6) had it right, if you were passively "viewing" the data coming out of a WAP then you have no problem, the analogy of TV/Radio etc will work here. However, when going on the internet etc aren't we forgetting that in order to RECIEVE a page we first have to REQUEST the page, that requires a active connection and thus we ARE trespassing by requesting that page."


    Wow, how misguided.

    So, By requesting a page you are stealing? How so when the access point already GRANTED permission?

    We have devices grant permission and access all the time. If you were in my house and had a key and the alarm code, the cops would not arrest you. They might ask you to leave, but at some point in time PERMISSION was granted by me to you because of the key and the code. Now if you copied the key, or stole the code that is different, but remember, we are talking about OPEN access points that automatically GRANT access.

    And additionally, computer tresspass specifically requires that you are accessing a network that you do not have permission to use. As the WIFI router has granted permission for the owner to the user of the network AUTOMATICALLY, it is no longer computer tresspass.

     

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  131.  
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    S-C, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:18pm

    Something You're Forgetting

    There is one important fact you're missing with regard to installing a wireless router/access point.

    All wireless hardware comes with instructions to physically install the hardware. Included in these same instructions lay the 'securing your wireless network' walk-thru.

    One can't reasonably expect a person to be able to physically install wireless hardware then believe that same person is unable to secure the network with the same instructions.

    Furthermore, if the individual setting up this wireless network does not want others on the wireless network then they should secure it.

    People, the instructions and manual say that the wireless network will be open to the public and if you don't want people on your network then you need to configure security.

    How difficult is this? And yes, the FCC is the one in charge of the matter not the cops. Cops can't do everything you know.

     

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    Chris Taylor, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:33pm

    Let me tell you why its different :-)

    How is this different from wiring a box that lets one decrypt and use satellite video signals? How is this different (other than the initial trespass) from hooking a long cable to one's neighbor's cable connection and using the video feed?

    -------------------------------

    Ok analogy time.

    I put up a satellite antennae and I decrypt the signal I have not paid for ?

    Is this wrong ? YES off course

    NOW change the analogy. I plug an antennae into my TV and it picks up 200 unencrypted wide open transmissions ?

    Is this wrong ? No Off Course not

    Get the point yet ? the other user left it WIDE OPEN not only that but its BROADCASTING a "Here I am please connect to me signal" (the broadcast of the SSID)

    SO not only are they leaving it open but they are Broadcasting a WELCOME that says here I am connect to me.

    Now you tell me why it is wrong to connect to this.

    If I leave my House Door wide open does this mean you can just walk into my house ? Off Course not.

    NOW if I leave my door wide open and put up a flashing neon sign above it that says Please come on in.

    Am I wrong to enter ?

    Chris Taylor
    http://www.nery.com/

     

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    Professor HighBrow, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:39pm

    Sorry But....

    Sorry But....

    If a company or the company's hired people that have installed insecure Wifi access doesn't have the brains to secure their broadcast, it's free for the taking. Now, If it were someone stealing bandwidth from another person in an apartment building, I'd say, yeah, the people are jerks; but if I don't have the intelligence to notice it or secure my own Wi-Fi that's my problem.

    We're not talking about someone stealing a bike off someone elses porch here, and saying "you left it out, so Its free for the taking."
    We're saying that if you so choose to broadcast your EMF somewhere where it can be recieved, you can't cry "foul."
    Common sense is set aside already, so now it comes down to the grit (and not because the "thief" used the service.)
    Downstream or Upstream arguements are IRRELEVANT. Potentially, the alleged offernder could have used some other service for his packet requests.

    This arguement boils down to inept companies trying to claim that someone stole something nearly intangable from them because they don't even bother to secure their own network. These are RADIO WAVES, for fuck's sake. Not some little kid's bike or an automobile.

    Anyhow, all of us nerds that even bother to comment on these articles are only increasing our own MARKETABILITY, aren't we???

    --Prof. HiBrow

     

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  134.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:49pm

    Re: You people are crazy

    someone keeps stuffing dollar bills through my mailslot...
    or
    I notice my neighbors door has been left open from time to time...

    keeping the money, can't be compared to taking stuff.

    how much was the bandwidth worth anyways? if it was stealing, then what about that dime you may have found somewhere.
    remember those birds you heard? they sang to each other, and not to you. And since you heard them and didn't pay, you should be jailed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:00pm

    Show me the story that gives more details such as the Police agency, the date of the incident, a statement from one of the police officials. Did this really happen?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:10pm

    Radio Wave theft vs Light wave theft

    Ok, so I am sitting in my backyard at night reading when my neighbor turns on his porch light and floods my backyard with "free" light. I turn mine off and continue to read. "KNOCK KNOCK!!....HOLY crap, it's the FEDS!! I had no idea it's against the law to use a neighbors light to read by."

    Sure, lights are everywhere and noone would ever question the legality of using the neighbors light to read by. But if I had to enter the neighbors property to turn on the light (crack encryption or passwords) then sure, fine and jail them. But if it's freely splashing out into public space? No law broken here. Move along.

    In the case of the light, if your neighbor were to complain to you and say, "Hey, use your own light." You could simply refuse and he would either have to turn his off or shield it from your view.

    Now the use of the light does not appear to diminish the bandwidth or usability of the light by the neighbor. But in a way, their sending the light all around does effect the efficiency of it. So by comparison, sending your wifi all over the place could effect its efficiency. Direct the WIFI only where you want it used and it will be more efficient for you since noone else will be on it and likewise, shield the light so that it reflects only within your property lines and it will be more efficient for you.

     

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    Beetlejesus, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:22pm

    wi fi

    Police suck. Nothing else to be said

     

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    king nerd, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:29pm

    sensitive electronics

    I spend my days doing sensitive electronics work in a carefully shielded room in a lab. I can't bring any of my work home, however, because the damn cell phone and wifi signals keep jacking with the meters. Even in MY HOUSE, someone else's waves are there screwing with my livlihood.... I wish I could make them stop.

     

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    Jason, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:30pm

    This is stupid

    People the IT people should be liable, not the person that used the wifi. If you in your own house can be arrested for playing say a porno, or decide to walk around nude all in the "privacy of your house just becuase you affended someone who looked in your window or some minor saw your adult film. This is not all that different and I agree with a lot of you that say it is lame to arrest someone for using unsecure wifi.

     

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    Git R Done, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:31pm

    Wha?

    To Sham:
    Before calling others "morons" learn the difference between "your" and "you're."

    Just a hint. Get a friggin clue.

     

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    Don, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:32pm

    Re:

    >> "A direct correlation to this would be cable service in an apartment building. If my neighbor has cable, and his cable runs inside the common wall between our apartments right next to my phone line, do I have the right to tap into it and get cable service?"


    That's not actually a direct correlation unless the person actually hacked the WiFi network. A more acurate analogy would be finding a cable line in my apartment that for whatever reason happened to be part of my neighbors service, plugging it in and discovering I had cable.

    Let's use the car analogy instead. I tend to leave my doors unlocked in most situations. It's far more convenient for me to have certain people have easy access to it most of the time, although there is an increased risk that someone I don't want might access my car and take something.

    However, I know from personal experience a true professional can unlock most cars in less than 20 seconds, and those of lesser skill will merely break the window to gain access. My dad did auto glass for 30 years so I know how much those windows cost and if someone really really wants something that bad let them just have it and save me the added expense of repalcing the window.

    That being said, when I go someplace, like certain malls, where I know pedators go around testing cars for easy marks like unlocked doors, I DO secure my vehicle to pervent such easy access - the risk outweighs the convenience in such circumstances.

    That being said, in over 15 years I've never had my car entered unathorized to the best of my knowledge, because I take what I feel are appropriate steps as needed to secure my vehicle.

    Does that mean I condone the person found in the middle of the night using someone else's WiFi connect. No, just as I wouldn't condone someone entering my car without permission and taking something whether it was locked or unlocked. From the details provides it sounds likely he knew he was doing wrong and some measure of penalty should likely be considered depending on the specifics of the case.

    However responsibility is a two way street. Just as it is my responsibilty to secure my vehicle if I park it somewhere people are likely to test the handle to see if it's unlocked, its also the responsibilty of people to secure their "property" (in this case WiFi) if they don't want just anyone gaining easy access to it.

    I, too, am annoyed by what another poster refered to along the lines of the "AOL metanity" (and as an regular AOL user for about 5 years I came to know this mentality well) of people not knowing anything about their systems because of the ease of accessibilty. If your going to use the technology you're responsible for its proper use, just as you are responsible for the proper maintainance and security of your car (a lesson I've learned a few times in car repair bills).

    And yes, whether it is illegal or not, if you leave your bloody front door open 24/7 someone is far, far more likely to walk into your home than if you close and lock the door.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    Re:

    >> Show me the story that gives more details such as the Police agency, the date of the incident, a statement from one of the police officials. Did this really happen?

    The story said Illinois so I find it very plausible, especially if it happened anywhere near the Chicagoland metroplex.

     

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    FatNakedGuy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    Police are just stupid people looking for any excuse to bully innocent people. F'um!

     

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    DitchDigger, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:44pm

    Stealing is stealing any way you look at it. If you are an internet thief it is not likely that you are unaware of the fact that you are stealing. If your gonna be a thief, and be stupid enough to get caught don't blame the person who left the network open, it's your fault, dummy.

     

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    Funkbomb, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:47pm

    I've had enough of the lunacy.

    When you connect to someone's router without permission, you are stealing bandwidth.

    That "It was unsecured" argument holds no water. If you leave your house unlocked, and someone walked in and snagged your TV, would you call the cops?

    The cops would show up and probably say, "Well, you should have locked your doors." That doesn't make the person who stole your TV any less guilty. Does it?

    The fact of the matter is, the guy was stealing. A person driving around and stealing wifi isn't a WarDriver. I am a Wardriver and I NEVER connect to someone's network without permission. It's not possible because I turn off the settings that allow a connection to happen.

    In the case where your computer "jumps" to another router because it's a stronger signal, sorry, you are still responsible. The first time, yes, I can see it happening. But set up your computer to connect to your network only.

    Quite frankly, if your computer is jumping from network to network without your control, you are horrible at networking. The last thing you want is for your computer to jump on random networks because they are stronger. It opens you up to all sorts of different problems including viruses.

    Common criminal in a new age. That is all he is.

     

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    E-Scapegoat, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:53pm

    All wifi here are legally required to be encrypted

    It's illegal to have an unencrypted wifi connection in my state. It's part of the law that makes it illegal to tap into somebody's cable or phone service, and has already been held up in court. The broadband providers that offer wireless routers are required to set them up already wep encrypted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:55pm

    Using the same analogy as the unlocked car previously mentioned. What exactly would the police say if you reported something stolen from your car, then explain to them you left your car unlocked..... Mostly likely they would roll their eyes at you and tell you to be more wise next time. then it would fall into the massive pile of reports filed 'get to it last'

     

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    iTech, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:59pm

    Wow

    The amount of comments for this article shows about how important this issure really is. I guess I can contribute my two cents:

    It IS the responsibility of the business/owner to secure its network. The individual should not be fined simply for using an OPEN network. It would be different if he airsnorted and broke into a protected area. Its just like saying that plugging in a laptop in Starbucks (for simple typing not internet usage) is theft of electricity.

    iTech @ http://itech.webwarp.net

     

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    uncredible criminal, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 7:01pm

    feedback from a "cheap", "common criminal"

    The wifi signal Im stealing is a little shaky, cus the cops took my cantenna, so this may be a double posting, which is also theft, as pointied out in a previous post. I guess stealing wifi is a "gateway crime" and next Ill be selling crack. If only the cable people would come here on time and install my farkin cable broadband, my soul would be saved... And by the way, Im pretty sure Ill leave my connection open, you know, to pay back some binary Karma. I would write a thankyou note if the person supplying this connection would only supply thier address in thier SSID on thier non-wep wap.
    -uc, in guilt

     

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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 7:10pm

    Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    When you connect to someone's router without permission, you are stealing bandwidth.

    You say this, but you don't explain why... that's because there is no correct explanation. What is *lost*? For something to be stolen, something needs to be lost. There is nothing lost here.

    That "It was unsecured" argument holds no water. If you leave your house unlocked, and someone walked in and snagged your TV, would you call the cops?

    In that case, something was lost. Something tangible was taken and there was trespassing. Both are crimes. Where is the "crime" in using WiFi from a public place?

    The fact of the matter is, the guy was stealing. A person driving around and stealing wifi isn't a WarDriver. I am a Wardriver and I NEVER connect to someone's network without permission. It's not possible because I turn off the settings that allow a connection to happen.

    Again, nothing is missing, so I don't see how anything was "stolen"

    The last thing you want is for your computer to jump on random networks because they are stronger. It opens you up to all sorts of different problems including viruses.

    How does it open you up to viruses. This is amusing to me. You go on and on about how people should know enough about networking to stop their computers from jumping from network to network, but then assume those same people have no responsibility to put in even the most basic security protection on their computers?

    Common criminal in a new age. That is all he is.

    And yet you fail to show why. Where is the *loss*? Who is the "victim" of this crime?

     

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    bob100, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 7:18pm

    You little pricks should all go directly to jail f

    What makes you all think it is your right to take something some one has to pay for? Jerks! You should all go directly to jail for this. I have been hoping for this day for a long time.

    Who the hell am I? I am an ISP who is sick of having my bandwidth sucked up by you f..ing freeloaders. Bandwidth is expensive.

    A broadband connection only works because it is not used most of the time. That is business. You think you have to right to take a 3 meg pipe and saturate it 24/7? Grow up.

    That much dedicated bandwidth cost hundreds per month. You think you can pay 30 or 40 per month and you have the right to file share and overload the pipe. Think again children. When you some day have to pay your own bills you will get it. That is those of you who have more then 2 brain cells.

     

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    withheld, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 7:38pm

    re: do not pass go

    Welp, my two surviving braincells think you sound like a moron. Thanks for a well thought responce from the industry. Ill remember your comments next time I pay for bandwidth and make sure I don't choose an ISP with your particular skill set.

     

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    Jeremy Vaught, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 7:43pm

    My EVDO

    I am currently sitting in a parking lot, it is night time, and I'm reading this story on my laptop with an EVDO connection. I'm such a bad man.

     

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    a little prick, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:00pm

    Re: You little pricks should all go directly to ja

    "You think you have to right to take a 3 meg pipe and saturate it 24/7?"

    That sounds like a really whiney excuse for bad infrastructure.

    "You think you can pay 30 or 40 per month and you have the right to file share and overload the pipe."

    You should try to offer things that consumers want, not try to vilify paying customers

    Thats the very epitomy of what business I would avoid in the industry. You should get a new attitude or get therapy to cope with this unwanted reality.

    Or get a job at AT&T, they'd like youre ideals.

     

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  155.  
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    Drew, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:07pm

    I could do that...

    I should go use my EVDO card outside a very public building and see what happens. Got nothin to lose...

     

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    coldsteel, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:10pm

    This is beginning to sound like an urban myth. First off how do the cops know he's stealing anything? Was there a huge CANTENNA hanging off his car roof or something? You cant just look at a laptop and say its got wifi and even if it did that the radio was turned on and in use mines usually OFF when im mobile as why add to the battery drain. Story just sounds bogus as theres no grounds for the initial search, let alone an an arrest that I've heard here.

     

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  157.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:10pm

    Re: You little pricks should all go directly to ja

    A broadband connection only works because it is not used most of the time. That is business. You think you have to right to take a 3 meg pipe and saturate it 24/7? Grow up.

    Then why do you sell "unlimited bandwdith?" If you can't live up to what you sell, don't sell it.

     

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    Lou, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:25pm

    Its Stealing

    Access a private unsecured signal is stealing. Just as walking into house because the owner left the door wide open is stealing.

    The guy parked in a parking lot new what he was doing. he had no authorization to access that signal even if it is unsecured.

    At the very least he was loittering which is a crime in 95% of America.

    I am all for securing Wi-Fi I do it. But I do not access private open Wi-Fi spots because its praying on the ignorance of people.

    90% of people buy Wi-Fi linksys boxes and have no clue how to secure and they manage to even setup by a miracle of god. Does that mean your free to surf and download porn or anything else over their Wi-Fi connection. NOO.

    Grow up and get a job. if you need mobile wireless, get a blackberry or treo, or a EVDO Card from Verizon or sprint. If you cant afford it tough nuts but stop leaching other people stuff.

     

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  159.  
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    Alex, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:26pm

    Re: OPEN wifi at MOST McDonald's Locations

    "Sure, the open wifi in your office was intended for work only - but now since you are using that open wifi on your personal computer, it is a crime... or at least in comparison to what this article quotes."

    Actually, according to the Sarbanes Oxley Law (SOX) it is a crime if the company is a financial company. You could get in trouble, and the company could get sued for failing SOX compliancy!

     

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    Dan, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:32pm

    if you do not fence in your yard and people walk across it you are required to tell them to leave before it is trespass

    if you do not secure your wireless and people stumble across and use it why are you not required to inform them you do not wish them to use it ??

     

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    whiter crests, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:38pm

    not to call the arguement out of tune but this is an opportunity for gov reg licenceing. plain and simple once again the public is not personally responsible enough to keep its money in its pockets per usual. shut up and get out there

     

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    Derek Hampton, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:45pm

    Taking this to court?

    I hope the person given the fine will take this to court and fight it. As a previous poster mentioned, this has already been ruled upon by the FCC.

    --
    Derek Hampton
    SouthBeachCasa
    http://www.southbeachcasa.com

     

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  163.  
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    eggs in your shoes, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 8:48pm

    lets all choke each other with denominated tiddly winks. even still lets all go out and buy wireless routers.

     

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  164.  
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    circular epidemics, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:01pm

    an analogy: i was at a horse race the odds were in consideration but i lost. i wasnt the horse nor was i the one collecting the money ultimately. is that an obtsruction of my pesonal rights ? no thats choice. decide

     

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  165.  
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    caniibalistic judge says..., Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:12pm

    fcc law

     

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  166.  
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    Ross, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:12pm

    What's next.. stings?

    I wonder how long it will be until police set up stings for WiFi stealing. No one go redeem their free bandwidth they won from the mail.

    Scary...

     

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  167.  
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    Ghost, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    When you connect to someone's router without permission, you are stealing bandwidth.

    You say this, but you don't explain why... that's because there is no correct explanation. What is *lost*? For something to be stolen, something needs to be lost. There is nothing lost here.


    I will explain that point. There is a number of federal laws that cover this exactly. They all relate to illegal computer/network access. Very simply, just because it is there screaming out it's name doesn't give you permission to access that system. Permission must be explicit, not implied. You can and if caught, will be, arrested. It isn't the Theft of Services charges you have to worry about. It is the federal hacking charges that will cost you several years of your life, and a substantial amount of money. Simple enough?

    That "It was unsecured" argument holds no water. If you leave your house unlocked, and someone walked in and snagged your TV, would you call the cops?

    In that case, something was lost. Something tangible was taken and there was trespassing. Both are crimes. Where is the "crime" in using WiFi from a public place?


    It is a very similar thing, actually. How often do you think some of us hear that an end-user's speed is not what it should be? I hear it all the time. Most of them are running a wireless router of some kind that isn't secured. If they had taken the time to at least WEP the unit, it would have kept the typical leech off their network. They are stealing the customer's service. They are also violating federal electronic intrusion laws. Wi-Fi, while a free radio wave, is not a right. You may scan for the signal, you may not use anything that that signal carries. Anything on a digital carrier wave is illegal to intercept. Again, that would be federal law.

    Regarding the second part. If there is some kind of sign that it is permitted to connect to the wireless, go right ahead. That would not be illegal. No sign, ask. They say no, you connect anyways? Guess what, you just broke the law. That makes you a common criminal.

    The fact of the matter is, the guy was stealing. A person driving around and stealing wifi isn't a WarDriver. I am a Wardriver and I NEVER connect to someone's network without permission. It's not possible because I turn off the settings that allow a connection to happen.

    Again, nothing is missing, so I don't see how anything was "stolen"


    Ahh, but something was indeed stolen. His digital carrier wave, which if you remember, is illegal to intercept. You had no rights to the contents of that carrier. Why do you think it is illegal to scan for cellular calls? Digital carriers. Again, you would be a thief or worse, an extortionist.

    The last thing you want is for your computer to jump on random networks because they are stronger. It opens you up to all sorts of different problems including viruses.

    How does it open you up to viruses. This is amusing to me. You go on and on about how people should know enough about networking to stop their computers from jumping from network to network, but then assume those same people have no responsibility to put in even the most basic security protection on their computers?


    This one is simple. Do you have any understanding of just how computer literate the average person is? Most will tell you that they don't know the first thing about how the computer/Internet works. Care to guess how much they actually know about how that wireless AP works? If you prevent your computer from connecting to a foreign network, you won't be breaking federal interception and inrtusion laws.

    Common criminal in a new age. That is all he is.

    And yet you fail to show why. Where is the *loss*? Who is the "victim" of this crime?


    Does this explain FunkBomb's point?

     

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  168.  
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    the repeating life mother warned you about, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:23pm

    wireless routers... good for the soul... mile range... 50 us bones no need to ask look at it for your self. fair warning text has meaning outside of your desk top cozy.

     

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  169.  
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    Tigger, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Urban Legend?

    The story is linked in the original post for you to read.

     

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  170.  
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    undue comment sells popcorn, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:40pm

    im not adhered to social graces. thanx fr obligating me to the conditions of the forum.

     

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  171.  
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    we like connectivity not wasted civility, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:47pm

    social grace... enroute... get us some pizza...

     

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  172.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:54pm

    this is perfectly acceptable

    ...in a police state.

    The open wifi transmitted a signal out to public space. Why is it doing that?

    WiFi requires bi-directional communication, if he were just intercepting something like streaming there would be no theft of services. He actively went back across their property to get access.

    He transmitted a signal in public space. The other end was not obliged to do anything with it.

    Another point, don't charges have to be pressed. If I use my own home wifi from my car, there's no crime. My friends wifi, no crime.

    amazing how what would have been considered completely unacceptable six years ago is almost embraced now.

     

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  173.  
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    nmn, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:56pm

    hold on we are going to be vortexted... i m technicoloryawning that... pizza was available to the public...

     

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  174.  
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    TheGuy, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:57pm

    Dumb shits

    Probably every ISP says you cannot share your bandwidth outside of your property, they think you are sharing they can shut off your service. So you have open Wifi, it does not matter. Every STATE has laws about theft of services, that includes using Wifi. It is pretty much electronic trespassing. You are using there floppy bits on a processor, which is unathorised access to a computer system. Every router has a processor in it. You are stealing. People here has the stupidest freaking ideas trying to justify stealing, one moron tried to say he was a cop. The cop in the origianal story probably had a reason to talk to him, just was not printed in the story.

    Cops love doing a sting operation, they buy a bike over $5000, then leave it in front of a shitty market. Someone comes along and steals it, guess what, it cost just over the felony amount so it is a felony even though it was out in the open in a public place.

     

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  175.  
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    mike, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 9:58pm

    I was cold one day so I walked into the store in the middle of winter but never purchased anything, I simply went into the store to warm up. Is this stealing as well?

     

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  176.  
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    dog owner, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:03pm

    next prelim is shock collars

     

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  177.  
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    blast proof, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:07pm

    were you warm?

     

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  178.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    I will explain that point. There is a number of federal laws that cover this exactly. They all relate to illegal computer/network access. Very simply, just because it is there screaming out it's name doesn't give you permission to access that system.

    Can you please point out the federal law that says this? Thanks.

    Permission must be explicit, not implied. You can and if caught, will be, arrested. It isn't the Theft of Services charges you have to worry about. It is the federal hacking charges that will cost you several years of your life, and a substantial amount of money. Simple enough?

    Again, please point out the law. I've never seen anything like that.

    Anything on a digital carrier wave is illegal to intercept. Again, that would be federal law.

    Again, please point out the law.

    Why do you think it is illegal to scan for cellular calls? Digital carriers. Again, you would be a thief or worse, an extortionist.

    That's different. Those are encrypted signals. These are open. There's a big difference.

    This one is simple. Do you have any understanding of just how computer literate the average person is?

    You completely missed my point on this one. First he implied that everyone was perfectly computer literate by saying there's no excuse for not knowing how to configure your system not to jump from network to network, but then in the very next breath assumes that everyone is computer illiterate by suggesting if you do jump from network to network, you'll get viruses (something that is actually extremely unlikely).

    I was simply pointing out the internal inconsistency. Not suggesting that either view was right.


    Does this explain FunkBomb's point?


    Nope. So far all you explained was that there was some unknown law that makes using WiFi illegal -- even though that's not what this guy was charged with (he was charged with theft of service, which you say is not what you're discussing).

    So, basically, you're saying that what happened here is fine because the guy was charged with a different law, but he was breaking some other law that you don't explain.

    Yeah, clear as mud.

     

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  179.  
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    your butthole steals from your mouth, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:16pm

    stealing is nefarious

     

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  180.  
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    butt plugg, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:22pm

    alls good as long as your responsible for your own ass

     

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  181.  
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    go back to the wishing well, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:23pm

    no one said wireless is free

     

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  182.  
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    ICantbelieveyouatethewholething, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:27pm

    Using a connection w/o permission is Stealing

    If I don't pay my bill for my internet access, it gets shut off. YOU scuzzballs don't pay my bill, I do. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT to use my connection, if it is encrypted or not. It's just the same with ANYBODY who puts an AP on the air and hooks it to their internet connection so they can pad around the house in their jammies with their laptop. Most of the time, it's plain old ignorance.

    I can't believe you IDIOTS who say "Oh, I only check my email quickly, it really doesn't hurt anything." ARE YOU REALLY -THAT- stupid?! You can get your email address HIJACKED and it could be used to send threatening letters to the President or something. You want to see how FAST the Secret Service could be knocking on your door?
    "Oh, I'm safe, I use a secured connection when I steal bandwith for my email." You gotta be kidding. It is 'script kiddie easily do-able' to setup a bunch of APs with some software to capture and break your so called 'secure' connection -on the fly- when you think you're so cool connecting to that open AP.

    "Oh, I leave mine open so anybody can use it, and that makes me feel all fuzzy and warm! That way, when I'm stealing somebody elses connection, I can try to justify it."
    This is another case of idots run amok. You really WANT the cops kicking in your door looking for the source of the stream of kiddy porn that has been steadily being fed to the internet through your connection?

    Reading the preceding messages on here makes me realize how low the common denominator really is.

     

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  183.  
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    formless intents ?, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:28pm

    analogie: what were you thinking when you threw the penny into the frog pond ?

     

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  184.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:37pm

    agreed but you dont pay for your rights

     

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  185.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:39pm

    thats obtainable in a court of recon

     

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  186.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:41pm

    back to the story homie. whats worth your monies?

     

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  187.  
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    ICantbelieveyouatethewholething, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:43pm

    Case Law

     

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  188.  
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    Ghost, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.



    I would heartily suggest you try something called research before opening your gob again.

    Here is the pertainent law regarding Digital Communications.

    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sup_01_47_10_9_20_I.html

    Here is the pertainent law regarding Electronic Trespass.

    http://www.panix.com/~eck/computer-fraud-act.html

     

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  189.  
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    Funkbomb, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    The law is called, "Theft of services". You can get busted for splicing into the cable lines illegally too.

    Have you ever looked at your ISP's Terms of Service? A lot of them say you can't run a server (Ftp, HTTP, DNS, IRC etc) because if you get a lot of views, you'll hog too much bandwidth.

    Yes, bandwidth is a real item. And that is what is being stolen!

    As for the viruses, if you hooked up to my router (I run a closed network but still monitor it because I have the fastest line in my neighborhood), I have no problems sending an array of different files into your system. I keep them lined up and ready to go. Goatse, Tubgirl, some harmless but not so nice executables.

    Also remember, if you are on MY NETWORK, I have pretty good access to your computer and will screw you over in the hardest of ways. Why? Because I'm a jerk.

    There are folks out there, hardcore wardrivers, who know the systems better than me, who can set up all sorts of routers that will direct you to wherever they want.

    You know jack about computers. Pack it up and send it back.

     

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  190.  
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    hoo said moo got ran over by a dairy farm that off, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:52pm

    so collect ya ass and learn how to build san

    d against all the girls sea shells collections... nerd

     

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  191.  
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    u will never know, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:57pm

    tech skills

     

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  192.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:02pm

    does it make any difference if you give away wireless connections ?

     

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  193.  
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    still putting the toilet seat down /O, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:05pm

    what do you conside r public propriety ?

     

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  194.  
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    bandwith mem etical testical, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:26pm

    rate my taco burrito cool sour cream

     

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  195.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:28pm

    youve got enough band WIDTH parlay your royal hiyney

     

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  196.  
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    Ghost, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:30pm

    Re:

    does it make any difference if you give away wireless connections ?

    Yes, it does. It would be a violation of most ISPs Terms of Service (ToS). The way ISPs work, is that they assume you are only going to use an average of ten to twenty percent of your total allocated bandwidth. This is called Shared Bandwidth. Most cable companies, such as Charter and Comcast, use this type of planning. What this means for you is simple, lets say that a leech hooked onto your network. This person/being/whatever-you-want-to-call-it decides to download some program. I will use something I had to deal with at work, Windows Vista Beta Build 3375. They start the torrent for this program, it gets noticed by someone at MediaSentry. They inform the BSA, and they subpeona your identity from the ISP. You are now responsible for the actions of some jerk in one of the adjancent houses. Why? Because you decided to be a nice guy and let them. For this, you got your tail sued by Microsoft, through the BSA.

    If you allow someone onto your network without knowing who they are, you are opening yourself up to people using your connection to break into secured sites on the 'Net or worse...

    There are a lot of reasons why you should secure your APs and keep the leeches off your network. As was mentioned before, once they are on your network it doesn't take long for your computer to be compromised.

    Answer your question?

     

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  197.  
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    Funkbomb, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    Mike,

    Let me ask you this. Your car is parked on the street. Some hoodlum steals it for a joyride. On his way back, he replaces the gasoline. Then parks it in front of your house, right where you left it. Would you mind if he did this?

    I would.

    Suppose you wanted to use your car? But you couldn't because some knucklehead has it?

    Just because you have another car (additional bandwidth), doesn't mean it was right for someone to take the other one, without permission!

     

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  198.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:34pm

    i run my own server actionble darpa protocol

     

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  199.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lun

    Funkbomb,

    Again, you're describing an analogy that doesn't match. The car is a tangible thing that only one person can use at a time.

     

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  200.  
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    originalgeek, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:55pm

    by your logic

    It's perfectly OK to walk into an office and take all the pens and paper that are not tied down. It should be up to the office admins to secure their property. While we're at it, that LCD screen on the front counter is probably fair game too, right?

     

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  201.  
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    Ghost, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:09am

    RE: I've had enough of the lunacy

    Funkbomb,

    Again, you're describing an analogy that doesn't match. The car is a tangible thing that only one person can use at a time.


    How does this one work...

    I use BitTorrent, and saturate your upload. There is your car. Suddenly, you can no longer use your connection because some leech decided to be an ever-loving jerk and use you to pirate the latest new release. Congratulations, you no longer have your connection. And quite possibly, you no longer have your freedom either. Contributory Infringement. There are hundreds of reasons to secure your wireless, and to not use someone elses without their permission. You do not have explicit permission? Stay out of what isn't yours. Remember, the Computer Fraud act will catch up with you in the end. All it takes is one jerk, and a number of logs.

     

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  202.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:13am

    Re: RE: I've had enough of the lunacy

    I use BitTorrent, and saturate your upload.

    Yup, and that's a specific case. We've discussed that in the past. Overloading someone's bandwidth is a different issue.

    But that's NOT what happened here.

    So why trot out the hypotheticals. Look at what actually happened, and explain what this guy did wrong?

     

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  203.  
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    The Man, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: You people are crazy

    What if you turn on a sprinler, and the water goes over your property and helps water the neighbor's plants. Did they "steal" water from you?
    Absolutely, it wasn't their water water! It's just like shoplifting.
    What if you have a light outside of your house and it lights up the street. If I stand in the street and read under that light have I "stolen" your light?
    If you didn't pay for it, then of course you have!

    I getting sick and tired of all the individual theft going these days. And don't even get me started on the plague of intellectual property theft.

     

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  204.  
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    Funkbomb, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:25am

    Let's put it this way then.

    You have cable TV at your house. It's crystal clear, no problems. You pay 30 bucks a month for this service.

    I move in next door. I jump up on the phone poll and I splice into it.

    You are still paying 30 bucks a month but now the picture is degraded because I am hijacking your line.

    In your eyes, I'm not doing anything wrong! I'm not physically stealing anything.

    My defense could be, "Hey, if you didn't want me stealing your cable, you should have coated your cable line in diamonds so I couldn't cut it."

    Please don't procreate.

     

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  205.  
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    Anonymous Hero, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:33am

    Re: And again

    This has little to do with loss, it has more to do with implied permission.

    By setting up an open access point, you are doing the electronic equivelent of putting a sign on your front lawn saying free internet. IF you put that sign up but you don't read english, is that the fault of the person that reads it?

    I am sure that if I put a sign on my lawn that said, "Free tv,come inside and take it!" (in Japanese and I thought it just looked cool cuz of the letters) Would someone who understood Japanese that took your TV be guilty of theft? Nope. You invited em in. For whatever stupid reason, you did, and there is no crime... (cept stupidity)
    Exactly. Not everyone knows how to set up WiFi, nor should they. If you don't know what you're doing, then the reasonable thing to do is to HIRE someone who does. Likewise, it is reasonable to assume an open access point is open on purpose.

     

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  206.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:34am

    Re:

    I move in next door. I jump up on the phone poll and I splice into it.

    Well, let's start with the obvious... you've broken the law by going on the poll and opening the box.

    The situation with WiFi is completely different. That's a case where you are *broadcasting* the signal out off of your property. There's no trespassing. There's no splicing.

    Second, degradation of service is a different issue and not applicable here.

    Please don't procreate.

    Yup, thanks for debating this on a civil level and not resorting to personal insults. It really helps your credibility.

     

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  207.  
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    Ghost, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:35am

    Simple terms, for a simple mind.

    He knowingly, and intentionally, connected to a network that was not his. He could have been charged under federal statutes.

    From the synopsis at the top, he was charged with 'Theft of Service.' What that means, is that he intercepted and used a service he was not paying for. That is theft. Simple enough so far? He seriously lucked out in that the prosecutor in charge of the case didn't refer him for federal charges.

    Answer this, what is more important? The twenty-five to fifty dollars for a DSL or cable connection, or your freedom. Google Wi-Fi hacking, you will see a number of people who did exactly what he did. They got caught, and were arrested. They were charged under the same federal laws I have already mentioned. This is literally access the router, go to jail. Otherwise known as Electronic Trespass. Using something that isn't yours. More commonly known as theft. Modifying the code for the Point of Sale equipment to capture and hold credit card numbers. Commonly called Computer Fraud/Hacking.

    Notice the trend?

    Bandwidth is not free. Just because you can't tell the difference between right and wrong isn't an excuse for breaking the law. If you want proof of this, go get a leased line(T-1) and see how much it will cost you to keep that kind of bandwidth.

    Might I recommend you go to Google and do research. I will even give you a couple of things to look for, Electronic Trespass, Wi-Fi Hacking, Theft of Service.

    Unless you want to see what some of the people who have been blasting this forum, are capable of with cattleprods and flamethrowers. Don't go spouting off nonsense.

    It is Theft. Read the laws, understand the laws. Find the ones that apply to you, and abide by them.

     

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  208.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:45am

    Re:

    Simple terms, for a simple mind.

    Personal insults really help your credibility. I take you that much more seriously now for calling me simple minded...

    You know, it is possible for intelligent people to disagree. Calling them stupid doesn't help your argument.

    He knowingly, and intentionally, connected to a network that was not his. He could have been charged under federal statutes.

    The network was open, and invited his computer to connect. Show me the federal statute that makes that a crime.

    From the synopsis at the top, he was charged with 'Theft of Service.' What that means, is that he intercepted and used a service he was not paying for. That is theft. Simple enough so far?

    Nope. Not simple enough. Theft involves loss. Show me the loss.

    If it's a different crime, that's a different issue. But show me the loss here. Show me why it's theft, becaues just saying it is over and over again doesn't actually make it theft.

    Answer this, what is more important? The twenty-five to fifty dollars for a DSL or cable connection, or your freedom.

    That's got nothing to do with the question at hand. It's not about the punishment, but whether or not there's a crime. And there are plenty of reasons why someone may want to use an open WiFi connection even if they do pay their money for a connection at home. What if he was travelling?

    They were charged under the same federal laws I have already mentioned.

    You haven't actually mentioned any.

    This is literally access the router, go to jail. Otherwise known as Electronic Trespass.

    It's not trespass, because the router is open, available and inviting. If people went to jail for it, it's only becaue they had a bad lawyer.

    Using something that isn't yours. More commonly known as theft.

    Again, theft involves something being taken and missing. Not so in this case.

    Modifying the code for the Point of Sale equipment to capture and hold credit card numbers. Commonly called Computer Fraud/Hacking.

    Yup. That's computer fraud and hacking. The case above is quite different.

    Notice the trend?

    The trend being... a bunch of incorrect analogies?

    Bandwidth is not free. Just because you can't tell the difference between right and wrong isn't an excuse for breaking the law. If you want proof of this, go get a leased line(T-1) and see how much it will cost you to keep that kind of bandwidth.

    Again, totally missing the point. Bandwidth is not free indeed... but how much more is it costing the non-profit for this guy to use the network in the middle of the night? Turns out... zero. So in this case, the guy isn't costing anyone anything. So, the rest of your argument is (once again) wrong.

    Might I recommend you go to Google and do research. I will even give you a couple of things to look for, Electronic Trespass, Wi-Fi Hacking, Theft of Service.

    I've done my research. I'm still waiting for you to prove something.

    Unless you want to see what some of the people who have been blasting this forum, are capable of with cattleprods and flamethrowers. Don't go spouting off nonsense.

    Yup. Keeping it civil. Thanks.

    It is Theft. Read the laws, understand the laws. Find the ones that apply to you, and abide by them.

    Again, it's not theft. Keep trying.

     

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  209.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:48am

    Re: All wifi here are legally required to be encry

    It's illegal to have an unencrypted wifi connection in my state.
    Yeah, right. Just exactly what would your state be? A state of confusion?

     

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  210.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lun

    Let me ask you this. Your car is parked on the street. Some hoodlum steals it for a joyride. On his way back, he replaces the gasoline. Then parks it in front of your house, right where you left it. Would you mind if he did this?

    I would.


    Hmmm I dunno. Most likely (unless they also vacuumed it out for me, could sure use it right now lol), but then it depends on circumstances and my mood. Not everyone is always so hellfire bent about "protecting" their property at all times, although admittedly some random person borrowing your car is a little outside most people's acceptablility range including mine.

    On the other hand, to use a different example, we can't have "open" radiios at work, so most of us have cds players with headphones. We all bring cds collections (although mine is by far the largest) and most of us have an open policy about free borrowing from each other (although as a common courtesy most of still ask, or at least let the owner know they have a particular cd so we know where it is if we come looking for it) as long as we return them when we are done.

    The big assumption here is that the WiFi owner would necessarily have objected to the use of his "property". Who's to say they don't leave the connection open, at least at night when nobody is likely using it, intentionally, like some posters say they do. If the owner doesn't consider it theft then is it really theft? I say, no.

    Of course the big corps are likely to say yes, but I consider them to be some of the biggest crooks of all whose only concept of morality is how big a profit margin they can squeeze.

     

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  211.  
    identicon
    James, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:58am

    Re:

    yeah, but they call it loitering..

     

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  212.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:03am

    Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    I will explain that point. There is a number of federal laws that cover this exactly. They all relate to illegal computer/network access. Very simply, just because it is there screaming out it's name doesn't give you permission to access that system. Permission must be explicit, not implied. You can and if caught, will be, arrested. It isn't the Theft of Services charges you have to worry about. It is the federal hacking charges that will cost you several years of your life, and a substantial amount of money. Simple enough?
    If you don't believe in implied permissions, then I hope you got TechDirt's explicit permission before you accessed their web site. If not, then I suggest you try to turn yourself in to the FBI for "hacking" as you put it.

     

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  213.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:13am

    Re:

    You have cable TV at your house. It's crystal clear, no problems. You pay 30 bucks a month for this service.

    I move in next door. I jump up on the phone poll and I splice into it.


    As was pointed out before with a similiar example, this alanogy only if your talking about a "closed system".

    An open system is more analogous to moving in and hooking up your cable line to your tv and discovering you already have cable access (like I did - turns out free basic cable was part of the rent, but the landlady forget to mention it).

     

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  214.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:17am

    Re: Re:

    this alanogy only

    Blahhhh, or to say that in English: this analogy only works.....

    so much for my proofreading skills tonight

     

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  215.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re:

    Link to 18 U.S.C. 1030.:
    http://www.panix.com/~eck/computer-fraud-act.html

    You want the loss?

    How about the $200 dollars in packets that the ISP was charged for his traffic? Sufficient for you? If they are using a residential level service for the Non-Profit, he increased the traffic on the connecting. Costing them part of the cap on thier service for the month. Does that work?

    Example:

    Person A has Internet. Person B does not. They live in a duplex. 2 computers. 1 router, wireless. Person A sets up his router. Person B notices the AP is active. Person B starts using person A's connection. Assume ISP is Comcast. Person B uses 100% of person a's allocated transfer. Person A is rate limited to 128/128 service until next transfer period.

    Person B, when caught, is guilty of Theft of Service, and Computer Fraud. Simply by connecting to that AP.

    Specifc Federal statute: 18 U.S.C. 1030.

     

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  216.  
    identicon
    Ghost, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    I will explain that point. There is a number of federal laws that cover this exactly. They all relate to illegal computer/network access. Very simply, just because it is there screaming out it's name doesn't give you permission to access that system. Permission must be explicit, not implied. You can and if caught, will be, arrested. It isn't the Theft of Services charges you have to worry about. It is the federal hacking charges that will cost you several years of your life, and a substantial amount of money. Simple enough?

    If you don't believe in implied permissions, then I hope you got TechDirt's explicit permission before you accessed their web site. If not, then I suggest you try to turn yourself in to the FBI for "hacking" as you put it.


    Techdirt happens to have a Terms of Service. Part of that, happens to be explicit permission to access the site.

    I suggest you look into Contract law.

     

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  217.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Link to 18 U.S.C. 1030.:
    http://www.panix.com/~eck/computer-fraud-act.html


    Doesn't apply in a case where the network is broadcasting into public spaces and open.

    At *best* you can say it's not clear. It's definitely not certain.

    You want the loss?

    How about the $200 dollars in packets that the ISP was charged for his traffic? Sufficient for you? If they are using a residential level service for the Non-Profit, he increased the traffic on the connecting. Costing them part of the cap on thier service for the month. Does that work?


    You have evidence that there was an actual loss here? Did they have a cap? Did they go over the cap? If they had a cap then it's their responsibility to make sure the network isn't used to go over the cap, or if they leave it open, to pay for that usage.

    Person A has Internet. Person B does not. They live in a duplex. 2 computers. 1 router, wireless. Person A sets up his router. Person B notices the AP is active. Person B starts using person A's connection. Assume ISP is Comcast. Person B uses 100% of person a's allocated transfer. Person A is rate limited to 128/128 service until next transfer period.

    Person B, when caught, is guilty of Theft of Service, and Computer Fraud. Simply by connecting to that AP.


    Hmm. You again make assumptions about the amount of usage, none of which are necessarily true. You're setting up very specific cases -- most of which are unlikely to actually be the case.

    If I similarly set up cases, what if person B uses just a tiny bit of bandwidth when person A is not online, causing absolutely no disruption of service or increased cost?

    You see the problem with your argument? You are talking about specific situations. Deal with those specific situations, don't generalize them to every connection.

     

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  218.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    Techdirt happens to have a Terms of Service. Part of that, happens to be explicit permission to access the site.

    Actually, we don't. We put the website up and it's implied that you are free to view it.

    I suggest you look into Contract law.

    Ditto.

     

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  219.  
    identicon
    stuarttaylor, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:05am

    Just to put this into context, let's say that you are aware that your neighbour leaves their house in the morning and doesn't lock the door, this doesn't give you the right to enter their, plug your computer into their network, and use the internet.

    Just because the network is a wireless connection, and your not physically inside their house, still doesn't give you the right to use their network without explicit permission.

     

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  220.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:38am

    Re:

    Just to put this into context, let's say that you are aware that your neighbour leaves their house in the morning and doesn't lock the door, this doesn't give you the right to enter their, plug your computer into their network, and use the internet.

    Again, that's trespassing. If they're broadcasting the signal onto your property or onto public property... there's no trespassing.

     

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  221.  
    identicon
    mark, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 4:08am

    Re: What about...

    You cannot expect brillance from ignorance. A PC is a huge portion of "everyones" live. Yet a huge portion of our population are "clueless" about its use.
    The police officer should be tested on his understanding and level of PC andor networking knowledge.

    The user of Wifi should also be asked what are you doing parked in front of a building in the middle of the night? You would get shot in Alabama for that!

     

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  222.  
    identicon
    mark, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 4:08am

    Re: What about...

    You cannot expect brillance from ignorance. A PC is a huge portion of "everyones" live. Yet a huge portion of our population are "clueless" about its use.
    The police officer should be tested on his understanding and level of PC andor networking knowledge.

    The user of Wifi should also be asked what are you doing parked in front of a building in the middle of the night? You would get shot in Alabama for that!

     

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  223.  
    identicon
    I have morals and ethics, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    The arguement is this:
    Did the not-for-profit want people to use the signal?
    Not whether or not it's unencrypted or what time of day it is or where you are.

    Well, you don't know. But most would assume that since this isn't an internet cafe or such that has a sign that says "Free wifi" then the owner didn't want the signal to be used by the public.

    So, now you're gonna argue that because it's unencrypted that it their fault for not securing it if they didn't want people to use it.

    That's where the problem lies you assume to your advantage and think that it's free for the taking.

    Now the analogies begin. I haven't found a valid analogy yet. You can't compare stealing a wireless signal to open doors, water hoses or reading lights. Its not the same.

    So, what's wrong with using the unencrypted connection? Well, the owner is paying for the electricity to run it and he's paying the internet bill. How do you know he's not on per byte payment plan. You assume he's got unlimited usage. So, you argue it's in the middle of the night the I'm using bandwidth that would otherwise go unused.

    How do you know the bandwidth is wasted? You're on the wireless side. How do you know this office isn't running a system backup to remote server? How do yo know they aren't running file servers and an office on teh other side of the world is doing something?

    You don't.

    The way I see it if you're using the connection you're the type of person that keep a $100.00 bill if it blew out of your neighbor's hand and into your yard. You have a completely different set of morals and ethics that make you feel you deserve it.

    You think that because there isn't a physical connection that's it's harmless and it's free.

    Maybe there is or isn't a law that says exactly "Using an unsecured wifi connection, in a parking lot, in the middle of the night is a crime." It doesn't matter, current laws can be interpretated by the courts to say it is.

    It's just plain wrong that you people feel that unsecured = free for the taking.

     

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  224.  
    identicon
    Rick, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 6:29am

    DHCP people!

    DHCP !

    DHCP !

    For those of you with a IQ less than 100: Wifi says "I am here!", you say "can I use you?", Wifi says "Yes, here's an IP and gateway address so you can access the internet, and here's a lease of time for you to use the connection".

    DONE! There's your permission and even an electronic contract for time (renewable).

    And starbucks and/or mcdonalds little permission screens are exactly the same (you go to screen, ask for permission, then it's granted). Same, same.

    D H C P ! !

    For the other stupid posts against free open access and the original article, it's got to be scare tactics and FUD from all these telco companies because right now TODAY they are all trying to buy out all the small wifi companies and offer wifi service (via 802.11b) in many towns.

    It won't go over well if they can't lock down all those open wifi routers out there. These are greedy bastards!

     

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  225.  
    identicon
    I see Godwin coming.., Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:07am

    DHCP? Oh geeze. Did the owner of the AP say it's ok to use the connection? Just because a computer is configure to allow easy configuration doesn't grant permission.

    Next thing your gonna tell me that the welcome mat on my porch means someone can walk into my house or if I leave my car running and the door open in my driveway I did that so you could hop in and take it to do errands?

    All of the people they are trying to say it's ok only take the arguement, analogy, logic to the point where it's agrees with their point of view. However, this is very short point. If you keep extending the logic you quickly find that it's not black and white. There's a helluva lota grey area and the grey is what everyone's arguing about. The grey area is what gets you in trouble.

    Getting permission from the owner eliminates the grey area for you. Of course the owner may not know that his TOS agreement forbids sharing the connection. So, there's a new slightly lighter grey area.

     

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  226.  
    identicon
    Icantbelieveyouatethewholething, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:26am

    Are You Dense?

    Did YOU pay for the service? No? Then YOU have NO right to use it, unless EXPLICITLY granted permission.

    DHCP? WTF?
    Are you COMPLETELY dense? DHCP was developed to ease network management in a WIRED WORLD before wireless. Just because it has been implemented on a wireless network does NOT imply permission to use said network. Just because it happens to hand out a 'gateway address' that allows the connected device to talk to a device that eventually leads to the internet doesn't mean squat.

    Your wife goes to the beauty parlor for a shampoo. They don't really 'change' or take away anything, (except some body oils and dirt,) they just wash her hair. Let her try and walk out without paying for it. Theft of services.

    Bottom line. I pay the bill to bring the connection into my house. You don't. You use the connection without permission. Theft of services. If I were using one of the ISPs in my area, they have a 40Gbit/month limit. You sneak on my net and download a movie. I, thinking I have enough room to get a big download of my own. Wrongo! I get a bill for overage charges! So the meter IS running, and I'm paying for it. You aren't.

    Is that simple enough for you?

    "I didn't have sex with that women, Monica Lewinsky."

     

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  227.  
    identicon
    Icantbelieveyouatethewholething, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:26am

    Are You Dense?

    Did YOU pay for the service? No? Then YOU have NO right to use it, unless EXPLICITLY granted permission.

    DHCP? WTF?
    Are you COMPLETELY dense? DHCP was developed to ease network management in a WIRED WORLD before wireless. Just because it has been implemented on a wireless network does NOT imply permission to use said network. Just because it happens to hand out a 'gateway address' that allows the connected device to talk to a device that eventually leads to the internet doesn't mean squat.

    Your wife goes to the beauty parlor for a shampoo. They don't really 'change' or take away anything, (except some body oils and dirt,) they just wash her hair. Let her try and walk out without paying for it. Theft of services.

    Bottom line. I pay the bill to bring the connection into my house. You don't. You use the connection without permission. Theft of services. If I were using one of the ISPs in my area, they have a 40Gbit/month limit. You sneak on my net and download a movie. I, thinking I have enough room to get a big download of my own. Wrongo! I get a bill for overage charges! So the meter IS running, and I'm paying for it. You aren't.

    Is that simple enough for you?

    "I didn't have sex with that women, Monica Lewinsky."

     

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  228.  
    identicon
    Icantbelieveyouatethewholething, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:28am

    Double post

    Whups -- Sorry about that...

     

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  229.  
    identicon
    Sick and Tired of people thinking they can use my, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    Ah, but there is a trespass.

    You connected to private property. By using the free radio waves that are being broadcast onto your property, you connected to something that isn't yours. You are routing traffic through an infrstructure that you did not invest in. You are doing this under the assumption it is allowed.

    Get a clue. It is called Theft of Services. It is also Electronic Trespass. Connecting to a computer you do not own without permission is illegal. 18 U.S.C. 1030 is pretty clear on that point. A router is a very specialized type of computer. If you don't have permission to connect to it, you are in violation of this law. Simple enough so far.

    The loss? Again, simple enough. How do you know what kind of service they have? Are you paying for it? No? Hmm.... This would be Theft of Services. Like it or not, what you are describing is nothing less then theft. I work for an ISP that uses Wi-Fi for wireless internet. We find you on one of our towers without an account open with us, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. ISPs are able to track the usage, and notify the end user when they notice unusual activity on a connection.

    You want a specific situation? Easy enough. This kid in Rockford, by using something that he did not pay for is guilty of Theft of Service. That law has been made to apply to everything from Party line phones to Satellite TV services. You use it without permission, you are guilty of theft of service. Read up on this law and others, as they vary from state to state. However, the federal level laws will take priority, due to the supremecy clause in the Constitution.

    I hope I kept this AOL enough for everyone here.

     

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  230.  
    identicon
    zoobuhs, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:58am

    Re: by Anonymous Patriot on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:04p

    "The arguments here - if they can be called that - all boil down to one of two world views, ..."

    Amen, & Amen. Thank you for trying to peel back the filter we fail to realize we use when crafting our arguments.

    Also, I think if people would read through the previously posted responses they would be less inclined to share the my-front-door-is-open-but-you-can't-come-in analogy for the 37th time.

    LISTEN!...then speak.

     

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  231.  
    identicon
    zoobuhs, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:58am

    Re: by Anonymous Patriot on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2:04p

    "The arguments here - if they can be called that - all boil down to one of two world views, ..."

    Amen, & Amen. Thank you for trying to peel back the filter we fail to realize we use when crafting our arguments.

    Also, I think if people would read through the previously posted responses they would be less inclined to share the my-front-door-is-open-but-you-can't-come-in analogy for the 37th time.

    LISTEN!...then speak.

     

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  232.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward #42, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:14am

    Thank you post #70 -

    Said in Star Trek Computer Voice:
    "Godwin's law has been attained. Thread approaching irrelevancy..."

     

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  233.  
    identicon
    Steve, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    IP ADDRESS

    If this guy was "un-authorized" why was he issued a valid IP address?

     

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  234.  
    identicon
    James Keller, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    Better Example

    My local Home Depot has remote Cat5 jacks in the parking lot at the base of some of the overhead light poles. They use these in the summer for tent sales where a check out station can plug into one Cat5e for networking, and the other is for a phone.

    As with the WiFi - there is no locked cover over at least one of these jacks. Assuming they allowed internet access from this port, I could drive up at any hour and run a cable out of my car to the port and do the same thing as this guy was doing.

    Could I make the argument that they should have secure the physical port? (ie WAP / WEP / Non Broadcased SSID etc)

    I would get slaped with tresspassing at least, and theft of services as well most likely.

     

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  235.  
    identicon
    bigger picture, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    on the same note, the new house bill is attempting
    to remove 'internet' from the defintion of Public Communications.

    Sorry- too much information out there for the masses. cant have em figure everything out.

    please insert 5 dollars for the next 2 minutes.

    google
    H.R 1606.

     

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  236.  

    It's a case by case basis.

    EXAMPLE: If I'm running WIFI in my appartment for example, and so is my neighbor, if both of us were retarded and had no security (wep/wap etc) and let the system automatically connect (non ad-hoc) there's a good chance (considering antenna dynamics and siginal strength), that i'd be on his network sometimes and he'd be on mine.

    I've worked on some odd cases where a neighboring siginal overpowered the local one (both happened to be set on the same channel and band) and since they both had the same hardware, the default name of the devices were the same. you couldnt easily tell which device you were connected to until I set up some security and changed the default name and MAC of the base station.

    So simply using another wifi connection isint grounds for jailtime alone-- sometimes it's stupidity, sometimes it's lack of planning and implementation but yeah, i gotta admit, sometimes it's theft. jail-worthy? no, i dont think so.

    but consider this: lets say he used that connection to brodcast the next great melissailoveuetc virus that turns your NTFS partitions to liquid shit. It's the company's fault for not securing the connection, but he still used SOMEONE ELSES PAID FOR network to do his evil bidding.

    I say he should have to pay for the companies costs of hiring a good tech and setting up some security. that'd be fair, yeah?

     

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  237.  
    identicon
    Steve, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Get a clue. It is called Theft of Services. It is also Electronic Trespass. Connecting to a computer you do not own without permission is illegal. 18 U.S.C. 1030 is pretty clear on that point. A router is a very specialized type of computer. If you don't have permission to connect to it, you are in violation of this law. Simple enough so far. "

    *****************
    Does that include web servers?
    Did you get permission to post here?
    Did you get permission to to connect to every router and switch between your location and this server?

     

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  238.  
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    Dave, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:31am

    An argument from comics

    There is a lawyer and comic book writer named Bob Ingersoll who wrote a column for a while called "The Law is a Ass". In one column he discusses Spider-Man picking up a solid gold notebook that was in a wastebasket, and he explains that because it was in the garbage the owner had shown that he had no interest in it, so Spidey was witihin the law to keep it (I don't think it was gold when it was thrown out,. though). Is it possible that not securing a network connection that is accessible from outside your property is an implied statement that you don't care who else uses it? Just a thought here, I can see both sides of tis argument and I have not yet decided which side I am on (though I am leaning towards "not guilty").

     

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  239.  
    identicon
    Matt, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:41am

    Is it OK to tap cable, then?

    So, by this line of arguing, if my condo neighbor's cable or satellite line is installed where I can access it from a common area, I can just install a splitter and pipe their signal into my TV?

    Wow. Thanks. I saved me $60/month and it won't cost my neighbor a thing!

    Does this line of logic really help anyone sleep at night?

     

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  240.  
    identicon
    Mayhem, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:43am

    You guys are idiots

    "They should have secured their wireless network!"

    On the same token -- YOU SHOULD LOCK YOUR DOORS BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. Otherwise I should be able to walk in freely and use your facilities. But don't charge me with trespassing -- you should have locked your doors. Otherwise I wouldn't have been tempted.

     

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  241.  
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    grambo, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:45am

    dumb

    all wifi can be secured. an open wifi is an invitation to use your network. this guy should have been let off with a warning and the company should be notified. it should be up to the company whether or not to press charges.

     

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  242.  
    identicon
    grambo, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:55am

    mayhem

    ever hear the term "white-collar crime?"

     

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  243.  
    identicon
    Hack000, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:58am

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Sure it is, most broadband (mainly DSL) internet providers offer unlimited bandwidth with their basic packages so companies and such do not have any reason to complain about their bandwidth being used up and having them getting charged extra. Second if the company doesnt want others using there connection then they should place an encryption on their WiFi connection. I currently own an unlimited bandwidth T3 broadband line and I own about 5 seperate locations where my WiFi connection is broadcast out of, my home has an unencrypted line while my other 4 business locations have encrypted lines. I don't really care if people use my WiFi connection near my house or not without my consent, and the only reason I have my business locations encrypted is because there are many other WiFi connection in the area and I do not want somebody to connect to the wrong WiFi. If my connection was the only one in the area, then I wouldnt have an encryption. So, to put it simply, it is the companies or organizations fault for having people access their WiFi connection without their consent. But yet, on the other hand, it CAN ALSO be the fault of the person who is using the connection if they know that the WiFi connection isn't there to use. Some cities like the one I live in have local WiFi connection locations for the public to use, so if theirs enterferes with an organizations then they should get that fixed. Enough said by me, goodday, goodlife, goodbye.

     

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    Garner, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:04am

    FUD from the telecommunications companies is on the rise. I bet you can't even find this case anywhere and the guy probably got a parking ticket or something.



    Reminds me of the FUD being launched about vontage and 911 calls being delayed.



    These companies will go to any length to make a profit and keep their share of the market.



    See this: http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic11631.html

     

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  245.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    Re: Is it OK to tap cable, then?

    "So, by this line of arguing, if my condo neighbor's cable or satellite line is installed where I can access it from a common area, I can just install a splitter and pipe their signal into my TV?

    Wow. Thanks. I saved me $60/month and it won't cost my neighbor a thing!

    Does this line of logic really help anyone sleep at night?"

    ****************
    Cable does not use the public radio spectrum, so it is different. But Satellite TV is the same. As long as the signal is un-encrypted, is is perfectly legal to view TV from a satellite signal. There are several satellites that broadcast foreign language programming that are free to receive.

    The same is true of Wi-Fi.

    If it's encrypted, it falls under the DMCA, and it's illegal to decode without authorization. If it's unencrypted, it's not protected.

     

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  246.  
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    scott, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Even if someone at a private residence or business leaves a door unlocked or open, that is not an invitation for tresspassing. Means to enter does not imply permission to enter.

    It would appear that the same standard is being applied to wi-fi.

     

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  247.  
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    Rob, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:18am

    ha

    according to a supreme court ruling even programs that crack a wireless encypted network are legal.. so using an open wireless system that you are picking up shouldn't be an issue...

     

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    vudukungfu, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    free broadband

    The FCC should fine the non profit for broadcasting a free connection without a licence. It's an attractive nusance. The downloader should sue the non profit for aiding and abetting his pr0n addiction.

     

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  249.  
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    vudukungfu, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    free broadband

    The FCC should fine the non profit for broadcasting a free connection without a licence. It's an attractive nusance. The downloader should sue the non profit for aiding and abetting his pr0n addiction.

     

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  250.  
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    The Tuna, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:42am

    Police authority using an excuse

    If the analogy of 'theft of services' were to apply, the purchases of the WiFi service (in this case, the non-profit compan) would have to file a complaint. The fact that a cop took it on himself to arrest the guy without a complaint being filed from the "aggreived party" shows that civil authorities are not concerned with the act as much as they are with the excuse it gives them to interfere in the lives of private citizens. If the non-profit caught the guy stealing bandwidth and complained, then yeah, the guy goes to jail. BUT offering internet access WiFi to others for free can be a political or economic act, and within the rights of the organization to give away if they so choose. The cop should have written the guy a ticket, and notified the non-profit, who then has a choice to press charges or not; and secure their network or not. Taking the right of distribution away from the actual purchaser of the service is another step toward the deification of property over the lives/choices of individuals. Seems human value lies either in our ability to consume or produce, nothing more.

     

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    ScrappyLaptop, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Lame

    Except that in the case of an open WAP, the access point is sending out a signal that says, "I am here, would you like to connect". The analogy is actually fairly accurate, just not in the way that the poster intended. Check out the details of Wifi protocols; it's a bit like setting a lemonade stand out at the curb with a sign that says, "Free, help yourself"...and then a police officer tickets or arrests you for stealing!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    Wow

    And if someone outside your house connected to cordless phone and made phone calls, thats all right too. Better yet, I ust wait for the next cellphone with bluetooth enabled and make some calls as well. None of that is stealing by some of the arugments above. Wow.

     

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    Rich, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:56am

    It's Stealing

    Being an IT person, it really bothers that the AP was not secured, but that doesn't give the person the right to use it.

    If I leave my wallet open in a public place (because I am an idiot), does that give someone the right to walk up and take my money. I don't think anyone would be OK with someone who decides they are going to splice in to you cable TV connection without you knowing.

    Someone pays for the broadband connection, so that person owns it.

    Let's call it what it is. It's stealing.. Plain and simple.

     

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    Mike, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 9:59am

    I heard that the main reason it's illegal to access other people WiFi is because people like pedophiles could potentially download whatever filth it was they were downloading and the IP address would lead back to the owner of the WiFi, leaving the pedophile to get away. I'd have no problem with people stealing my WiFi if they were just checking e-mail and the like, but not for downloading massive files and eating into my bandwidth.

     

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    Rich, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Lame

    Close, but not quite. How does an unsecured AP say "Free, use me". It's more like an unattended Lemonade stand with a sign that just says "Lemonade Here". Doesn't give your the right to walk up to it and pour yourself a glass.

     

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  256.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    There are different subjects going on in this thread all blurrig together.

    Access Points that are free by intention (some coffee shops, hetc) are one topic and ones that were not intented to be free (someones home or bussiness for use by employees) are quite another.

    Also is seems the debate is about the law is vs what everyone thinks should be the law or their opinion of what is ethical or not.

     

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  257.  
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    Ryozu, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    Wireless and the airwaves.

    All of these anologies are bunk. You can't compare the physical loss of a TV being stolen with the virtual loss of your connection slowing down. You can't lock your door and your TV magically be back where it was, but you CAN lock your connection at any time.

    Please allow me to make a more appropriate anology. Say you go to walmart and buy a couple of FRS radios (Family Radio Service, FYI) and run around town with a friend talking to each other. If you choose one of the public channels, and someone else starts using that channel at the same time, is it illegal? They're using YOUR radio equipment to reproduce THEIR voice! That must be missappropriation of equipment, right? Guess what, it's not, because you could have, and still can at any time choose a private sub-channel.

     

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  258.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:09am

    Re: Wireless and the airwaves.

    Your analogy is not correct. The key is "Public Channel". The AP and the associated broadband is not a public channel unless the SSID is something like I'mFreeUseMe.

     

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  259.  
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    ThinkHarder, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:14am

    Common Sence is not to common in the digital world

    What consitutes securing an access point to imply to the world that it is a private acess point?

    One that only has a nondefault SSID? One that has a custom SSID and MAC filtering, but nothing else? How about nondefault SSID wwith broadcasting off, no DHCP, and MAC filtering.

    Wait lets turn on WEP, thats unbreakable!!!! Now is they access point only free for use to those that know how to crack WEP, but not for everyone else that is not as knowledgable?

    Stealing a car with the windows down and the keys in it is no different that having to smash the window and hotwire the care in the eyes of the law. The level of effort in securing the resource has little to do with if it is legal or not.

     

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  260.  
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    Dave, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:15am

    Where do you draw the line?

    It seems that the core of this issue is what constitues providing a free service, even unintentionally, versus stealing a service that is not intended for your use. Where is that line? If I stop for a few minutes and watch TV through the window of a store, am I stealing TV viewing time? I think if someone takes NO measures to protect their connection, and it is accessible WITHOUT INTRUDING ON THEIR PROPERTY, then there is no crime. I know someone who has a WiFi connection IN HER OWN APARTMENT, she does not know where it is coming from (most likely a neighbor, but exactly who remains a mystery). If the signal is accessible to her, I don't think she is stealing by using it. She did not go out and take anything from anyone at all. It is not the same as leaving a door unlocked, because in that case the intruder still has to come onto the proprety, univited, to take something. It is also not the same thing as a wallet in a public place, because the owner inadvertantly left his money there, and the finder is actually taking something away from the owner. Using a business's connection when they are not there does not interfere with them, they still have the same connection they did before.

     

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  261.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:18am

    House analogy

    Since people like using the house analogy, isn't it more like:

    There are a row of houses in a street.
    a:)Some of them have their front doors closed.
    b:)Some of the houses have the front door open and pinned to it are full details of all facilities that you can use.
    c:)Some of the houses have the front door open and pinned to it are full details of all facilities that you can use.

    By checking the doors of (a) type houses you could be seen as committing a crime.
    By walking into (b) type houses you are availing yourselves of the philanthropic nature of the owners who have decided to share their good fortune.
    By walking into (c) type houses you are the lowest kind of human being, willing to subjugate your fellow man and steal the shirt off his back.

    See - simple.

     

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  262.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    Re: Where do you draw the line?

    tell your friend, that her nice neighbor is sniffing all the traffic coming from her machine over his wireless connection. She can expect some credit cards in her name in the very near future. Being in the security field, not all private wi-fi connections are meant to be secure.

    It's just like fishing, a little bit of bait can bring in a whole lot of fish.

     

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  263.  
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    Dave, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Re: Where do you draw the line? by Anonymous Cowar

    It has already been going on for months, if the source ewas bait for ID theft, it probably would have started by now.

     

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  264.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I've had enough of the lunacy.

    Techdirt happens to have a Terms of Service. Part of that, happens to be explicit permission to access the site.
    So expect us to believe that you wrote them a letter or something before you ever accessed their site to get permission? I call BS. If it's true, I expect Mike could confirm this, but I'm betting it isn't.
    I suggest you look into Contract law.
    It's funny how when you were going off on other people you were framing the issue as a matter of criminal law, but now that it involves you, you want to make it just a matter of contract law. Pure hypocrisy. Kind of fits with with the rest of your arguments.

     

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  265.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:15am

    Re: Common Sence is not to common in the digital w

    Stealing a car with the windows down and the keys in it is no different that having to smash the window and hotwire the care in the eyes of the law. The level of effort in securing the resource has little to do with if it is legal or not.
    That is simply not true. There is a huge legal difference between entering a property through an unlocked door and breaking in. If you don't understand that, I'm surprised you're not in jail right now.

     

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  266.  
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    Mike, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:22am

    The real reason cops are cracking down on WiFi

    I have spoken with local & county police about this issue.

    The police assumption if someone is using a laptop in a public parking lot late at night is that the person is downloading and/or uploading kiddie porn or terrorist instructions. The assumption is that using an open wifi connection will keep you totally anonymous and the police can't trace you.

    Thus, the probable cause is the "furtive use of a computer connection" impllying "an illicit purpose."

    Where the real suprize for the unprotected home network will come in is when the police raid your home and seize your computers because you have been connecting to off-shore kiddie porn sites.

    As the number of open WiFi nodes increases, the police will eventually become technically competent and able to access the connection information before approaching the "suspect." It isn't that hard to figure out who is connected to where if you have the right software and hardware.

     

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  267.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Where do you draw the line?

    tell your friend, that her nice neighbor is sniffing all the traffic coming from her machine over his wireless connection. She can expect some credit cards in her name in the very near future.
    Tell your friend to never submit sensitive information over any unsecured internet connection, wireless or otherwise. Implying to her that she's safe if she doesn't use a wireless connection is really dangerous.
    Being in the security field, not all private wi-fi connections are meant to be secure.
    You must be "in the security field" by being a greeter at WalMart or something. No one competent with computer security would make such a statement. Or maybe you're just another industry troll.

     

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  268.  
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    SoxSweepAgain, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:43am

    I had no idea!

    I use open wifi all the time, and had no idea there was anything ethically or legally wrong with it.

    The shop next door to my house has a connection that my computer picks up so I just use it.

    I've never thought anything of it. Are they being charged for this? It's just an open port, isn't it?

    What exactly am I stealing?

     

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  269.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:47am

    It's a strange thing computer technology.

    For some reason you're disassociating a wireless connection from the network it's connected to.

    You wouldn't plug an ethernet cable into an outlet and automatically assume it's ok. So, why is using a radio transmitter any different? Why is someone's lack of security automatically granting you permission? It doesn't work in any other circumstance why this one?


    But I got an IP it must be ok. What kind of logic is that? I got a brainstem and working foot does that mean I can kick you in the ass?

    My old cordless phone would connect to my neighbor's phone. Does that mean I can make calls on his line? I get a dial tone so it must be OK.

    Hell, I'll just cancel my phone service and use his! He's not getting charged for the call.

     

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  270.  
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    SoxSweepAgain, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:55am

    I had no idea!

    This isn't the same as a phone call, because they're not getting cherged for added use of the network.

    Unless they're still paying "by the minute" which is unlikely.

    Most of us non-tech people (I linked here from FARK.com) think- assume!- that any Wifi connection their computer picks up is free to be used.

    I don;t see a crime here, at all, and hardly anyone else does either.

    You guys just know tech stuff... non-tech people don;t see any problem with this, everyone thinks it's OK... just asked around.

     

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    Someone in the NW, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 11:57am

    Cops have no jurisdiction in the matter!

    OK, so I have a SIP phone that uses Wi-Fi VOIP across any open Wi-Fi connection. This ZyXel phone looks VERY similar to a cell phone.

    How would the cops discriminate between me using a regular cellular phone user and a wireless VOIP phone? Are they going to give me a ticket for using a SIP phone *Like they would even know what it was! :P *

    I would ask ANY 'Officer' if they are a federal agent as they are the ones that lay down the law with wireless telecommunications. If the 'Officer' answers "No", then I would tell them that they have no jurisdiction in the matter.

    I have been told by a 'Officer' in my home town that I couldn't use my Amateur radio in a public building. I asked him that exact question, and then told him that since the local agency is not a federal one, he had no say in what I did with my radio and my FCC licensed right to use it. I then told him that if he had a problem with me using the radio further, to contact the FCC in Washington D.C. He just said "Have a nice day" and turned and left me alone. Moron!

     

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  272.  
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    Ned, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal respon

    Kudo's for ripping on others for their misspelling of words and then misspelling in your post!

     

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  273.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:01pm

    Re: The real reason cops are cracking down on WiFi

    The police assumption if someone is using a laptop in a public parking lot late at night is that the person is downloading and/or uploading kiddie porn or terrorist instructions.
    Bad assumption and certainly not reasonable.
    The assumption is that using an open wifi connection will keep you totally anonymous and the police can't trace you.
    Authoritarian regimes are all dead set against anonymous speech. Do we want that here?
    ...the police will eventually become technically competent...
    Since when did incompetence become an excuse for wrongful arrest? There are plenty of technically competent people out there. Perhaps police agencies should hire some of them and fewer of the jock types instead.

     

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  274.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 12:51pm

    Re: to Post #270

    Wow... the name calling...hehe

    What I was implying was that just because you find an open Wi-Fi connection, you shouldn't assume that it was left unsecure because of stupidity or laziness. I have seen cases where people have set up unsecure Wi-Fi connections on which they sniff traffic of those who connect to them. It an easy way to ease drop.

    Now do you understand or should I draw you a picture?

     

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  275.  
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    Gai, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    Do not confuse burglary with free airwave. They're totally different.

     

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  276.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: to Post #270

    I have seen cases where people have set up unsecure Wi-Fi connections on which they sniff traffic of those who connect to them.
    The same thing can also happen at many points on the internet. Virtually every internet router has the ability to sniff traffic, no WiFi required. You really don't understand that, do you?

     

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    AC, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 1:52pm

    This is like fining a person for using a drinking

    Imagine a that private citizen, a business, or a public agency, or whatever places a drinking fountain on the sidewalk in front of their property/business/whatever. Then the HoSecPo (thats HOmeland SECurity POlice) stake it out - to catch someone taking an unauthorized drink. To be carted off to the PMITA Cuba gulag. Ridiculous? Pretty much.

    If you don't want people using you WiFi transceiver, try RADIUS, or some equivalent security protocol.

     

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  278.  
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    Gai, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:00pm

    Do not confuse burglary with free air wave.

     

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    Nsan_ity, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:13pm

    police suck anyway

    How could that POSSIbly stand up in court, should the guy have chosen to contest it?? omg this country sucks so much ass - it's incredible.

     

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  280.  
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    Randy, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:15pm

    Re: The real reason cops are cracking down on WiFi

    "The police assumption if someone is using a laptop in a public parking lot late at night is that the person is downloading and/or uploading kiddie porn or terrorist instructions. The assumption is that using an open wifi connection will keep you totally anonymous and the police can't trace you."

    It's your DUTY to educate them, get off your lazy ass and do your duty as a citizen.

    When someone uses your wifi you have become the same as an ISP and have no liability, so when the cops find out they should be checking if you have a open wireless router, or you can tell them when they ask.

    A district court judge ruled in a recent google case that passing packets automatically like a router does makes you just like a ISP, no liability.

    For the brain dead, I have to say this again. When you open up your wireless you are not liable for what ever use people put it to, no liability.

    This principal also applies to assuming that everyone has their wireless open for a reason, to let everyone have access. Why not open it? If there's no liability and you aren't using all the bandwidth all the time, why not?

     

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  281.  
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    Phishin, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike, I agree that "broadcasting the signal off of your property" and someone "seeing" it shouldn't be illegal. But using their connection is different. The source of that connection is ON their property. You are essentially "reaching" onto the property to use their equipment. Since everyone likes to use analogies, it's like this:
    Let's say my house has a window that borders a sidewalk (public property). I leave the window open, you come by and notice it's open (like a network). It's my fault it's open, but hey, my screen won't stay in and I really wanted to air out the place. I'm stupid that way. You reach in the window, grab my mouse and start using my puter. Even though you are on public property, you are reaching into my house and using my equipment. It is trespassing.
    A router is owned by someone, as well as the rent for the service. You are using it without permission, by way of trespassing.
    Back to the original case - he was using his computer to reach into the business and use their equipment and rented service without their permission. That is trespassing and stealing. The only way it wouldn't be if it were advertised that they have purposely set up their equipment and sevice for free public use.

    Ok, now I'll let the wolves rip this apart...

     

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  282.  
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    Phishin, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    Also...

    This could also be considered invasion of privacy - If you grab a ladder and look over someone's 10 foot fence, you are still invading their privacy.

    You have a reasonable expectation of privacy with a network. Of course that's getting into another grey area like satellites taking photos of you in your back yard.

     

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    Stupidstupidstupid, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 2:58pm

    IDIOTS!

    Okay folks, long enough argument with very few people seeing the plain truth. It may be morally right, depending on your views. It may be morally wrong depending on your views. But in either case, this man broke no law involving theft. There are currently no federal laws dealing with use of unencrypted WiFi, and lower levels of government do not have the autority to place such laws. It might be right, it might be wrong, but the man is legally innocent.

     

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  284.  
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    Stupidstupidstupid, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:02pm

    Re:IDIOTS!

    There better not be a response to this about some stupid analogy. Like I said, the moral implications are irrelevant. It is technically legal in this situation. Look the laws up yourself if you want. There is no federal, and the lesser are not allowed in this case. REMEMBER: ANALOGIES ARE IRRELEVANT! MORALITY IS IRRELEVANT! IT IS LEGAL!

     

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  285.  
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    Phishin, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:02pm

    Re: IDIOTS!

    Well, I'm sure with the name "StupidStupidStupid" you must be authority on this subject. Or is that the name of the law firm that you work for?

     

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  286.  
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    StupidStupidStupid, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:14pm

    Yeah....

    I'm sorry that you have to resort to insults to feel like you've contributed to the topic. I'm trying to put people on the right track, and what I use as my name shouldn't be important. I don't like using my real identity online, for various reasons, and that actually is a crime. If you really feel the need to spite me, track me down and get me charged for that. In any case, try to keep the discussion relevant to the topic at hand.

     

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  287.  
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    Phishin, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: IDIOTS!

    By the way... I think the fact that this guy had to enter a plea, was found guilty and had to pay a fine shows that it is illegal, at least in that locale. That is all mentioned in the linked news article:

    "He pleaded guilty Tuesday to the charge and was fined $250 and sentenced to one year of court supervision."

    “Likewise, our residents need to know that it is a crime, punishable by up to a year in jail, to access someone else’s computer, wireless system or Internet connection without that person’s approval.”

    This discussion is really just people giving opinions as to if they think it should be legal or not.

     

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    Larry, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    Theft of Services

    I'm glad they fined the guy 250 bucks for stealing bandwidth. "Theft of Service" happens when a person orders service- such as a pizza- and refuses to pay for it. Or having a locksmith open a car- then drives off without paying for the locksmiths time.

    BULLY FOR THE POLICE IN THIS CASE!

     

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  289.  
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    Steve, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    New education for police

    I use my tmobile GPRS Edge phone via my laptop all the time. Guess I should get a lawyer.

     

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  290.  
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    David Spoey, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:18pm

    DBWs = Drive By Wifi

     

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  291.  
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    Phishin, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Yeah....

    My bad, after reading my response I realized that it came off a lot worse than I meant it... I thought it was funny at the time and realize that it was not right. It's beneath me and I'm sorry.

    BTW, my parents didn't name me Phishin either.

     

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  292.  
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    Sean Dough, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:29pm

    Logic

    Just because you don't lock your front door doesn't give you the right to go in.

    Just because you don't secure your wireless doesn't give you the right to hop on it.

    Done and Done.

     

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  293.  
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    Budro, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Unlocked?

    It's not just a matter of the house being unlocked. It's a matter of the house being unlocked, standing wide open with a bullhorn repeatedly screaming COME IN AND TAKE THINGS! People would tend to assume it is okay to do that then.

     

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  294.  
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    Tigger, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 4:16pm

    Enough with the doors already!

     

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  295.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 4:29pm

    I GOT IT

    The door to the building was locked and the router was in the building behind the locked door so it's stealing!

     

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  296.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

    No unsecured wifi annalogy is more like leaving the door unlocked and putting up a billboard that says door unlocked.

     

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  297.  
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    Jekkeo, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 5:41pm

    I can't be the only one.

    Don't you have a responsibility, purchasing equipment in the first place, to know what it does, what it is capable of, and what laws are regarding it? (especially when radiating your connection) As the only law I've ever seen mentions bypassing methods of restricted access...

     

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  298.  
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    JuaquinPhartz, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 6:04pm

    Naw dont believe it

    Name of place and agency. This needs to be checked.

     

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  299.  
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    dave, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 6:13pm

    wireless for the masses

    look, wireless is wireless. if its unsecured, and youre using it, and you get caught, then youre are stupid for staying in one spot for so long.
    the morality of it being illegal is left to the person doing it. personally, i dont mind. but i think that if you run a business you should take care to have it secured.

    now here's an idea, how about the people who MAKE the wireless routers and access points build in a nodule that acts as a gatekeeper. it could be any method. just that it doesnt 'just work' out of the box.

    that would put an end to all this whining.

     

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  300.  
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    Michael, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:44pm

    One point I want to make is that the analogy of "if I left my front door open, it's not legal to enter my home" is not applicable. Your home is private property. As in physical "is your body on my soil" property. As in "has hundreds of years of historical legal precident" property. There are long standing laws on tresspass for physical property, and it is completely obvious to anyone alive today that tresspass is illegal (within the bound of the law's use of "obvious" and "anyone"; special cases are just that... special cases). Using a signal broadcast into public airspace is not the same as physical trespassing onto someone's private property, and historical precident of unencrypted signals in public airspace actually would tend to swing to the side of legal (i.e. radio).

    Now is it actually legal to use unsecured wireless? That's the debate at hand. While I have opinions, this thread has included most of my reasoning already. I'm simply refuting this particular analogy.

     

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  301.  
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    Moonpie, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 7:58pm

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Sorry, you're just plain and simply WRONG

     

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  302.  
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    MoonPie, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Most people that I know of don't secure their connection because they want to share it with friends. Open network means "go ahead and use it".

    You guys have no argument and sound like complete morons who think it's stealing. if someone doesn't secure their network then they are offering it up for use, plain and simple.

    Being ignorant of something isn't an excuse. Just like driving laws. Secure your damn network, or if you don't know how then pay the neighborhood kid $15 to do it.

     

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  303.  
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    Moonpie, Mar 24th, 2006 @ 8:05pm

    Re:

    All you readers out there. The people who feel that using an open wifi connection is stealing must be those same people that don't know how to secure their own network themselves. That's why they have the viewpoint that they do.

     

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  304.  
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    Alex (profile), Mar 25th, 2006 @ 1:53am

    Was his lawyer a jobsworth?

    I think the fact that this guy had to enter a plea, was found guilty and had to pay a fine shows that it is illegal, at least in that locale.
    Not necessarily. It could just mean he had a bad lawyer.

     

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  305.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 3:28am

    Re: Re: by Anonymous Patriot on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 2

    Also, I think if people would read through the previously posted responses they would be less inclined to share the my-front-door-is-open-but-you-can't-come-in analogy for the 37th time. LISTEN!...then speak.
    Yes but it is a very long topic. My mouse wheel is getting tired. :-)

     

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  306.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 8:41am

    Re: get over it idiots

    Good god, you are vastly ignorant of the law as it relates to unauthorized access of computer systems.

     

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  307.  
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    petecarlson, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Lame

    Yes, but he was invited in. The WAP was sending open invitations to join the network. He replied to the invitation and the WAP responded by issuing him an IP address and giving him access.

    WAP "Open WiFi here... Open WiFi here... WiFi here..."
    Client "Can I join your network?"
    WAP "Sure, come on in"
    Client "Does anyone have an IP address I can use?"
    WAP "You can use x.x.x.x24 for 2400 seconds"
    Client "Ok, I will use x.x.x.x24 for 2400 seconds"
    WAP "OK"
    ...
    COP "Your Stealing, No one told you you could use that connection"
    Client "WTF"

     

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  308.  
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    petecarlson, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Use the correct analogy

    They sent out an open invitation to use the connection. Don't believe me? Check the beacon frames from an open AP.

     

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  309.  
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    Jake, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 9:34am

    Re: Lame

    > Yes, but he was invited in. The WAP was sending open invitations to join the network. He replied to the invitation and the WAP responded by issuing him an IP address and giving him access.

    > WAP "Open WiFi here... Open WiFi here... WiFi here..."
    > Client "Can I join your network?"
    > WAP "Sure, come on in"
    > Client "Does anyone have an IP address I can use?"
    > WAP "You can use x.x.x.x24 for 2400 seconds"
    > Client "Ok, I will use x.x.x.x24 for 2400 seconds"
    > WAP "OK"

    Yes, it's called DHCP and it's part of the protocol that gives you permission, a gateway address and a lease of time.

    I don't know how much more permission you would need. Even Pantera Bread's or Starbucks sign on screen is the same principal, except DHCP is automated.

    No one is doing "unauthorized access" here, the damn thing is broadcasting that it's there, it's open and then gives you permission to use it. No INFORMED jury would convict this guy, and he should appeal the whole thing. I think he didn't have a lawyer, but if you know some basics about how things work you really don't need a lawyer in this case.

    So you people out there that don't know jack about how this technology works should quit watching TV and learn how things work.

    I don't understand how anyone can go through life without knowing how a car engine works, or even how a fridge works. It just shows you how low your IQ is without even having to take a test.

     

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  310.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 9:36am

    For everyone's information, there is NO Federal Law that prohibits the mere access of a computer network without authorization. The oft-quoted Computer Fraud and Abuse Act requires there to be intent to defraud or other motiviation to be applicable.

    However, most STATE law prohibits unauthorized access to a computer system or network.

    Here's a page where you can look up your State's statue:

    http://www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/CIP/hacklaw.htm



    And here's a copy of the relevent part of Florida's law (where I live - unrelevant portions removed):

    815.06 Offenses against computer users.--

    (1) Whoever willfully, knowingly, and without authorization:

    (a) Accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, or computer network;

    commits an offense against computer users.

    (2)(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), whoever violates subsection (1) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.



    ...So, in other words, accessing a computer network (which in FL includes a wireless network) without permission is a felony.


    Incidentally, there's no reason why two schools of thought cannot coexist here. You can choose to offer your WiFi or not, and accessing it is either prohibited or permitted. The point that everyone seems to miss is that private property is private unless you are overtly granted permission to enter upon/use it. So, legally, WiFi networks are private unless you have overt permission to use it. The question that will be pondered in court is - did you believe you had permission, and why? If you don't have a good faith answer to that question that the court believes... Then you'll pay the price. I highly doubt that "he didn't secure it" will get you very far.

     

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  311.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Lame

    Beacon frames are not PERMISSION, they are NOTIFICATION. Nothing inherent in them (or in probe requests/responses) conveys the permission of the owner to use the network (which, in case you forget, also comprises the cat5 and any other infrastructure behind the AP, such as an internal switch/router/what have you). And, legally, it's not the permission of the AP you require, but that of the owner. If the owner of that equioment did not overtly grant you permission to access his network (of which the AP is merely a part), then you have no permission to do so.

    Again, try telling the judge that the AP granted you permission and see how far you get. Justify it to yourself all you want, the law is NOT on your side, and, Mike's commentary nothwithstanding, it is not about loss in either economic or bandwidth terms, but about basic property rights - your right to determine who may and may not use your private property.

    Why is this so difficult to understand?

     

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  312.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    The question is not whether or not it is illegal to use unsecured WIRELESS. The question is whether or not it is illegal to use someone's network without authorization, and there are both State laws and court precedents that state unequivocally that is it NOT. The manner of access is simply not relevant. Wireless just makes it easier to do. Legallly speaking, this has nothing to do with stealing or tresspass, but everythng to do with the specific crime of accessing a computer network without permission. From a legal perspective, the crime is identical no matter if you sit in front of a house and use the Wifi or break into the house and plug in to the LAN. (Of course, in the latter, you'd have tresspass and possibly B&E charges too, but that's another story).

    Now, this doesn't take into account that having unsecured wifi is a pretty stupid thing to do - which it is, since not everyone will get caught and opens up the possibility that you'll get blamed for what someone accessing your wifi might do. However, imprudence does not equal permission in the eyes of the law, as those arrested and charged are now finding out.

     

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    Mark, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    The problem is that police are allowed to live. When the great collapse comes (hopefully), payback will be hell.

     

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  314.  
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    James, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    JoeT, you are a telco plant, along with all the other posts like yours. You work for the telcos that are trying to get rid of any free and open access by putting out a bunch of FUD and then profiting by buying up any wireless companies in small towns.

    When you are at starbucks, the ROUTER gives you the permission, automatically, just because you went to the web page contained in the ROUTER. Same as DHCP.

    Get a clue, get a life, and get a better job where you aren't sticking to people just to pay your rent.
    .

     

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  315.  
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    Tom, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 1:14pm

    slow speeds anyway so what's the worry?

    If you are beyond about 150ft away from the router you can barely get 300K bits/s, which is not even noticable to anyone that has the typical 3,000K bits/s cable connection. Plus, just browsing or getting e-mail is not going to be noticed at all. You could download CD's or DVD's all day long and the guy would never notice at 300K bits/s.

    So it's most likely that the user left his wireless open for others to use, there's really no good reason not to share your connection anymore (no liability either).

    It's also up to the cops to find out who's wireless access point the guy was using (no logs are generally kept so good luck) and see if it was open or not before charging him or arresting him, so there's a false arrest charge in this thing the guy could bring.

     

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  316.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    No, I'm not a "telco plant", I do, however, work for a company that sells security products for WiFi to the government and commercial interests. I lecture on WiFi security to groups such as Infragard and ISSA, and have had the opportunity to discuss the subject with several Law Enforcement groups over the years. If you have any Google-Fu, you should be able to figure out who I am and how to email me to verify that, if you care enough to. I hadn't mentioned who I am and what I do because I did not want to create the impression that I was posting on behalf of my company - which I am not.

    Second, there is nothing wrong with free wireless. If you want to share your WiFi, that's your business. If your ISP has an issue with it, then get an ISP that doesn't. But don't go thinking that you have the right to make that decision for someone else - they have a right to keep their Wifi PRIVATE if they wish - and are not legally required to secure it to have that legal protection. While it is crazy to not secure it (and I expend a great deal of energy lectuing on just how stupid this is), the law does not require protection to demonstrate a lack of consent for use.

    Starbucks (in reality, T-Mobile) offers a PUBLIC hotspot that they both advertise as public access and encourage you to use through that splash page. John Jones down the block with the Linksys he bought at Wal-Mart yesterday does not.

    To say that I can freely use anyone's WiFi is to say that I can freely plug into their LAN. Legally, it's the same thing. After all, you've got DHCP on your LAN, right?

    As to your suggestion that I get a clue: I actually have one that I share with the current case law. You, my friend, are barking up the wrong tree. I neither have a stake in this (as my home wifi is secured with my company's product - and you won't be getting in), nor any particular passion about it one way or the other. I personally have a Verizon aircard, and get Internet access that way when I travel. What I DO care about is when people post bogus information that is more born out of desire for it to be the truth than is is based in reality. Telling people that it's OK to access anyone's WiFi is telling them to violate (most/all) State laws and is irresponsibility at it's lowest. The whole point of this article is that people ARE getting arrested for this (especially now that the awareness is being raised amongst the general public), and so your days of sneaking onto people's LANs uninvited are beginning to dwindle down slowly. Call me what you want (and look like a fool in doing so), but I know the market, I know the industry, and I know the case law - and it does not agree with you and your position.

     

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  317.  
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    JoeT, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 2:26pm

    Re: slow speeds anyway so what's the worry?

    >"If you are beyond about 150ft away from the router you can barely get 300K bits/s, which is not even noticable to anyone that has the typical 3,000K bits/s cable connection."

    Three words: "24dbi yagi antenna".

    Or, more likely: "5dbi magmount omni".

     

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  318.  
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    Fred, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 5:55pm

    Re:

    JoeT says "people ARE getting arrested for this" "and I know the case law"

    Only people who don't know their rights and won't fight for them. I wouldn't call that an american either.

    You need to post the case law because out of all the posts here and on digg no one has posted any, AND a number of people have shown how there is no law for this anywhere, but proof that there are many, many reasons for people to leave their wifi open since there is no liability and all that.

    Did the guy even contact the non profit to see if they left it open for free use? I guess not. You can see this guy just pays any ticket he is given. One of those government always knows best sort of people.

    And please stop spreading your FUD to the "law enforcement groups", you and people like you are the cause of a lot of our loss of freedoms and corporate takeover of this country.

    Thanks for supporting the telcos on this issue. You are my hero.

    BTW: You are biased, and you don't even know it. You are one of those people who can fool himself easily.

     

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  319.  
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    JayPMac, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Mi Casa es Su casa

    You don't ~think~ your Telco/ISP made any fuss about you sharing your bandwidth? Did you read their Acceptable Use Policy? You'd better, because it's part of your contract with them. In the case of my local ISP (Comcast), sharing my Internet connection is a violation of their AUP. There is ~no~ "grey" area aboiut it. And if you're discovered, the "Gee, I Just Didn't Know" defense won't stand up.

     

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  320.  
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    Mark, Mar 25th, 2006 @ 10:20pm

    Buy more ammo. Deal with the police and their gov't overlords the correct way.

     

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  321.  
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    Mind Curry, Mar 26th, 2006 @ 2:01am

    Secure your wi-fi

    Secure your wi-fi if its not to be used by the public. Its as simple as that.

    Its not correct to arrest anyone coz hes using a public and open network. In coffee shops in india we are beginning to get open networks. So why not? And at places they dont want public to use the bandwidth they secure it.

     

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  322.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    cant send spam from watching TV

    The difference is you can't try to break a system, bring down a service, or simply send out 75,000 pieces of spam asking to enlarge your breasts.

     

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  323.  
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    Had to come back, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: to Post #270

    Post
    "The same thing can also happen at many points on the internet. Virtually every internet router has the ability to sniff traffic, no WiFi required. You really don't understand that, do you?"

    Absolutely, I understand that. But I also understand that many of these "script kiddies" don't have access to routers along major backbones. And the major providers do a lot to ensure that they don't. Imagine the lawsuit if someone found out that there was someone sniffing on a major backbone. Plus, think of the traffic you would have to decipher coming off of an OC-192 or Gig-E handoff. It is not impossible, but not the everyday script kiddie at work.

    Even in the apartment building scenario, how would you sniff someone's traffic on their wired network? Would you sneek in to their house and install a network tap, or mirror a port to sniff on. It is a lot harder than setting up a Wi-Fi AP and seeing who connects to it.

    With that said, this conversation is over. You can reply if you want to, but I have read enough to understand that you really have no idea what you are talking about. I was making a simple observation, and you had to blow it up to "Big Brother is Watching" proportions.

     

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  324.  
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    digitalnrg, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:05pm

    Okay, I have 2 for us...

    #1. I buy a gun, and I dont lock it up, in fact, I brodcast the model number of the gun with a light outside my house. Someone takes my gun and kills a kid in the street. Is it my fault that I left the gun un-attended and accessiable? Or is it just the killer's fault? I think that I would have some responsibility just as this company does

    #2. This is the more important thing... THIS IS NOT THE JOB FOR YOUR LOCAL PIGGY POO TO BE DOING?!?!?!

     

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  325.  
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    digitalnrg, Mar 27th, 2006 @ 6:12pm

    oh yea... one more...

    People here are saying that Joe Blow shouldnt HAVE to secure his internet, maybe he doesnt know how, or isnt technical enough.

    So, what if i am too dumb to know that i automatically connected to someone else router. I mean, i have a netgear at home, 300 miles away and so does someone here, where i am on vacation. "Wow, that little cordless internets thing works all the way down here. It was worth the $50"

    !!!?

     

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  326.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    The way ISPs work, is that they assume you are only going to use an average of ten to twenty percent of your total allocated bandwidth. This is called Shared Bandwidth. Most cable companies, such as Charter and Comcast, use this type of planning.

    Assume all they want, if they sell me X amount of bandwidth, it's mine to use; otherwise THEY are stealing from ME (regardless of how they've spun this around to convince everyone to believe otherwise).

     

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  327.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 1:24am

    he who is using someone else's internet conection in any way is costinthe poor bugger that leaves his wifi un secure.
    who's going to pay for the extra download use on his contract with the isp?

     

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  328.  
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    ronbob, May 22nd, 2006 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibi

    Here is a simple comparison for you. I leave the door to my house unlocked. You come in and steal my stuff. Are you stealing because I left the door unlocked??? Damn Straight! Yes I am a moron for leaving the door open but you are the idiot to think that was an open invitation to come in and steal my stuff. Same thing as the WiFi. You wouldn't presume that the weed eater in the garage was free for your taking, so why my WiFi?

     

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  329.  
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    Budakai, Jun 5th, 2006 @ 2:29pm

    ummm....

     

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  330.  
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    Budakai, Jun 5th, 2006 @ 2:29pm

    ummm....

    um...I think I might be going to jail soon....

     

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  331.  
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    Buzz Light Year, Jun 22nd, 2006 @ 11:31am

    On the idea of leaving your house unlocked, If you don't lock your house then you are all but inviting someone to come in and take what they please, be it right or wrong. If you don't want people taking your WIFI... THEN LOCK IT DOWN. Apart from if it's right or wrong, you have an open WIFI, somebody is bound to use it.

     

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  332.  
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    anonymous, Jul 3rd, 2006 @ 9:10am

    WARSPYING IS LEGAL

    Yea, this article is bullshit because it is not illegal to use an unsecured wireless network. It is more than easy to secure a wireless network, so if the owner of an unsecured wireless network is too lazy to secure it, then he forfeits his rights. Only if I hacked his secured network and started using his hotspot, would I be breaking the law. It is all very simple. It is a shame that such uninformed trash gets published these days.

     

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  333.  
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    Mr E, Sep 3rd, 2006 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Lame

    So based on the following... I could setup any Sat Dish DirecTV/DishNet/XM/Sirius and as long as all i do is receive their signal it's ok? cool duh*
    it's not bi-directional, cause u dont even need the phone line, just fake a valid access card so what, hmmmmmmmm

    Key difference in your analogy? One way interaction in watching TV, the signal is sent out and no return is performed.

    "That WAP is sending its signals across the dudes antenna"

    WiFi requires bi-directional communication, if he were just intercepting something like streaming there would be no theft of services. He actively went back across their property to get access.

     

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  334.  
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    Maria, Oct 9th, 2006 @ 6:40am

    purchase order

    I am writing because I just got a paypal requesting confirmation on an order I never purchased

    Someone from PA ordered a dell computer for 699.00 and are using my e-mail address.

    Any comments as what to do...

     

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  335.  
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    Aaron Scott, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: by Spike on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 10:42am

    WEP really isn't required to prevent unauthorized connections. All wireless assess points offer a feature called MAC restrictions. This prevents the router from issuing IP's to any ethernet device not listed in its MAC table. I would find the IT department to be at fault, not the piggybacker.

     

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  336.  
    identicon
    luke, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How about some personal responsibi

    "you're saying that if You're too illiterate or stupid to "secure" your cash in your pocket and your cash lands in the Wal-mart parking lot it's MY responsibility to not take it?"

    No, he is saying that if he takes his cash out in Wal-mart's parking lot, throws it up into the air and it lands on the passenger seat of your car, even through closed windows, you have the obligation to ignore it and never do anything with it.

    Also notable: the cash he takes out of his pocket and throws up into the air is replenishable, i.e., he loses nothing by giving it away.

     

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  337.  
    identicon
    luke, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Lame

    "Scott put it correctly when he said that using wifi is bi-directional. You are requesting something over the other person's network, not simply picking up information already being sent."

    Agree.

    "analogies such as listening in to other's radio programming and tv's make no sense, because yes it would be wrong if instead of just listening to that persons tv or radio you reached over and started changing the station"

    Disagree. For broadband connections, there would be little or no effect on others using the WAP.

    On open WAPs I have used, the LAN is usually invisible (not always, though). The only way the WAP originator knew I was there was because he could see me with his own eyes.

    It is also important to note that some open WAPs are bait to attract clueless interlopers and then gather sensitive or crucial information, such as web passwords and the like. The communication may be bi-directional, but so is the risk.

    I have to agree with those who say there are legitimate reasons to leave a WAP open. And for those users, it is important to understand what measures they can take to secure their open network so that it is used within their imposed limits. I have used open WAPs that wouldn't allow me to send data or collect web email, for instance.

    WAP owners have a LOT of built-in control over their network, but they have to understand how to implement it, and what constraints they will assume by its implementation.

    AFAICT, technical ignorance is utterly irrelevant to this issue. Invoking ignorance to justify prosecuting "theft of services" is like excusing the at-fault driver in an injury accident because he didn't know how to operate his vehicle. Ridiculous.

    Perhaps the "risk" (if you can really call it that) of operating a wireless network should be made clear through warnings on the wireless equipment packaging. Otherwise, anyone who wants to prosecute someone for using his WAP ought to have to prove he suffered some kind of tangible damages before action is taken by authorities against anyone.

     

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  338.  
    identicon
    hamza sahil, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

    i never new this ,sometimes when i go to the park i use wifi

     

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  339.  
    identicon
    Guest, Feb 12th, 2007 @ 12:07pm

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    Any signal that travels through the air is public domain. Thus the need for encryption. The supreme court has already declared that by not encrypting the signal the owner is giving implied consent.

     

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  340.  
    identicon
    Jonny, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 7:00pm

    This is bullshit and i want people to know why...

    Okay, to start off. I 100% agree with the owner of this page. He wasn't doing any danger to the building, they obviously didn't care if someone else used the WiFi because the length went beyond the building's private property, and the fat ass police officer probably had nothing to do and wanted to tell his other fat ass, donut eating buddies a funny story: "Ohh yeah. Hey listen guy's this is funny. The other night, i scared the shit out of some guy with a lab-top in his car. You should do it/Watch out for people, etc." You get my point. If the police worried more about the war, politics, shootings, thieves, grand theft auto's, etc. their wouldn't be any violence, any wrong doing, or anything, at all, wrong with the world these days; or atleast the U.S.

    Secondly, i would like to state that if someone is concerned with someone else using their WiFi, then do something about, but don't be a baby and call the police. Simply, state to the person, i don't like you using my wireless internet or WiFi, could you please stop or if you don't stop further actions will be inforced, and that's ALL you should have to say. I can't believe this! I want to go shoot myself because every thing we, as American's, do now-in-day's is going to be either wrong or they'll (the police) try to piss us off so they can say we either resisted arrest or something false. FUKC THE POLICE!! THEY HELP NO ONE. THEY CAN'T DO THEIR JOB

    Finally, i would also like to state something: Say i owned a desktop and moved into a new house. I got internet and bought a lab-top when i got a wireless internet modem for my Verizon/Comcast modem (this makes the desktop's internet wireless so it can picked up from another computer/desktop or a lap-top). So i use my lap-top out near my pool, in my car infront of my house (for whatever reason), etc. and i can go to jail for using my own internet connection??? I don't think so. The police have nothing better to do, like i said before, but try to trick the freedom we as American's have earned. I'VE GOT ONE THING TO SAY TO YOU POLICE OFFICER'S, YOU CAN KISS MY CAUCAJUN ASS... (i don't care if a cop see's this. They can bithc and complain all they want. I don't care anymore. They minus well throw me in jail, because it's going to be tomorrow that you can look at someone w/o going to jail or the next day you'll be hearing that you can't walk outside with your face visible. I hear-by state that the U.S. police are corrupt. Now i know that a bad apple can spoil a bunch but this is true in many cases.)

    I would also, like to apologize for cursing. I was just very upset that they did this.

     

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  341.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Nov 22nd, 2007 @ 6:19pm

    Arrested for using wifi

    The problem with this is that someone parked on the street picks up a wifi signal and uses it gets arrested. If these coffee shops don't want people picking up their wifi that extends out into public areas then encript it. I believe if you can be arrested for this then the shops should pay taxes on the space their wifi extends out in the public areas. I believe that alot of what they call piggy backing
    is considered by most courts and states has public wifi. Most laptops even automatically connect to these services. This is BS since they have the ability to encript it and they don't.

     

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  342.  
    identicon
    if someone steals your broadband and uses your ip, Nov 24th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    Re: What about...

     

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  343.  
    identicon
    Balpreet, Jan 4th, 2008 @ 4:36am

    Sorry, got a problem?

    Whats the problem? I do this nearly everyday with my psp and iPod Touch (i use my neighbours wi fi) I have even admitted it to them while at their summer garden party! They had no problem with it at all. It's not like i'm stealing their bank details. Anyway who said i gave them permission to have their wi fi radio waves go into my property? All i have to say to the police is go look for Bin Laden instead of arresting epople for such petty things...

     

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  344.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    thats bll shit

     

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  345.  
    identicon
    Melissa, Mar 29th, 2008 @ 9:28pm

    free internet

    not fair to those of who do pay monthly subscriptions for internet that thieves mooch off the airwaves and hack in for free access. I hope they all get caught and fined.

     

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  346.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Re: Using someone else's WIFI w/o permission is illega

    wat about if they let u ue their key is it still illegal?

     

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  347.  
    identicon
    Keith Garrett, May 4th, 2008 @ 2:19am

    Re: How about some personal responsibility

    You're a moron... No one ever really uses all the bandwidth alloted to them during a month. Using open wireless networks and bandwidth that will never be used anyways isn't stealing

     

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  348.  
    identicon
    dave, May 26th, 2008 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Right on.

    If I read you correctly you are saying that if the manager doesnot give you his permission you are stealing when you go to any establishment that haS FREE WIFI. This is totally rediculas there are many locations that offer free wifi access, many do not have a way for you to inter a building you use there parking lots. Again if you do not get the managers permission (according to you) you are then stealing. This is rediculas most businesses know enough to turn off their network if they do not want it used after hours. If they do not want it used they turn it off and if it is not turned off that usually means an employee messed up and the employer needs to deal with him. Many businesses in order to encourge people to come in and openly advertized free wifi. You do not need to get the managers permission every time you want to use their free wifi.

     

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  349.  
    identicon
    unknown, Aug 25th, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    i dont care

    i leave my wifi open so people can use it doesnt do nothing to me

     

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  350.  
    identicon
    Dick, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 11:10pm

    Important Issue

    Stealing Wifi is illegal, and it should be more known to the public. Someone who doesn't know much about these things might connect accidently, not know they are doing anything wrong and then have all their crap looked at, private stuff that they don't want broadcast; and a hellish nightmare of theft and revenge from whoever they inadvertantly stole from. I know I wouldn't steal from a stranger or screw with their computer just to be a weirdo, I sorta have basic morals. Not perfect; just decent live and let live.

    I don't even know how I got to this site; Bored, messing around. Disclaimer: every website I visit does not necessarily reflect this humans opinions or values. lol

     

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  351.  
    identicon
    youwin@aol.com, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 11:39pm

    okay

    ya um, well okay. A crime that should be punishable by death for sure. I love the hose analogy too. Only I don't have a hose cuz im in an apartment complex with its own water supply. Its very own! No great hook ups for hoses.

    I thought you were compassionate, nice, friendly. I guess I'm just crazzzzzy. Confrontation is not really my thing either, so I FORGIVE you

     

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  352.  
    identicon
    Alex Mawdsley, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    This makes no sense!

    laptops auto connect to wireless routers that arent secure all by themselves. just because they dont have a secure connection doesnt mean its my responsibility to turn off my network card. even a secured network sends its ssid out to anyone near it, and when your computer sees it, it communicates with that router to ask if its secured and with what security its using, which is why your laptop will say that you need a wep key or whatever key is being used.

    that said many laptops will connect to the internet after it auto connects to an unsecured wifi network to DOWNLOAD UPDATES FOR YOUR COMPUTER! again, not your responsibility to turn off your wifi while driving slowly down the road.

    My ipod touch will auto connect to wifi while im walking around town, accasionally to personal networks that are not secured. when it connects it will send ping a site to make sure it has internet. again, not my problem to shut off my wifi, and i could say they are interfering with my ipod because as i pass by their router will use the services of my ipods micro processor to ask for a mac id and it sends MY ipod an ip address (dhcp) but it is not illegal!
    can i be arrested for my ipod accessing the music store to refresh its data while im walking by a house listening to music? or even using its built in safari browser to view myspace? absolutely not! just as i cannot arrest them because their wireless lan asked my ipod for a mac id and assigned it an ip address!

    this is all simple computing tech, and theres nothing the cops can do about it, its not stealing, even if they had a secure network its still going to ask my ipod for a mac id using "valuable" processor services. the point is its not stealing, because its a continuously renewable item, once i go out of range im no longer using bandwidth and they still have it. and as for the "download quota before they have to pay for usage" comment, that doesnt exist, only on cell phone plans, and last time i checked, you dont send your cell phones data services over wifi...

    case closed, it wasnt illegal unless he hacked it or was specifically told he could not use the wifi connection.

    dont believe me? open up the terms of service for your wireless router, it says to encrypt your network or someone could use your internet connection 'and' by not encrypting your network you are thereby tied to the FFA regulations for wifi hot spots that state "anyone around an unsecured wireless network (aka. hot spot) is legally allowed to use any services provided by the wireless connection."
    services means INTERNET! or if you go to MacDonalds and they have a computer connected to the wireless router through LAN, and that computer has a shared printer and network drive, and an internet connection on the WAP port, you can print anything you please, delete and upload anything you want to the shared drive, AND use the internet with no legal issues unless stated otherwise.
    this case is closed.

     

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  353.  
    identicon
    U_CANT_CATCH_US, Jul 8th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    HOW TO GET FREE WI-FI

    Step 1 puchase a laptop with a wifi card or buy a wifi card that plugs in via usb step2 go to u r house /appartment and find an unencripted connection if u cant find one move to a new house and scan again... step 3 connect to the connection step 4 never use the laptop near windows or in u r car a 3am or tell u r neighbors about u r dirty wifi secret

     

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  354.  
    identicon
    Joe, Nov 2nd, 2009 @ 12:57am

    like file sharing

    Yes, the cops in Illinois do ticket and will probably start arresting for this. Stealing wifi is the same as tapping someone's phone, so it's a very serious offense-it may be a federal crime but these laws haven't been challenged. I'm sure the auto-connect feature is going to go the way of the dodo. The assumption is that a person using wifi illegally is trying to avoid paying for broadband at best, and stealing other information on the networks, at worst. And the logic that it was an "open" connection is spurious. Just because the door is left unlocked doesn't mean you can walk into a person's house. Computers are thought of as digital houses and wallets, and less like radios or streetlights or television. I think that arrests and fines and search warrants for this are going to skyrocket in the years ahead, due to the prevalence of identity theft, fraud..they just don't have the tools to sniff out where people are yet, but it's coming. (I know someone who works in enforcement, and yes they are setting up "honey pots" fake connections to catch people doing this). If people didn't have valuable information on computers, draconian enforcement of these laws wouldn't be worth the effort. Then again, it could just be an Illinois way to boost revenue and give the legions of lawyers some work. If business were smart they would pool together to offer free wifi in cities, online ordering saves them money. This reminds me of the record companies attempt to prosecute file downloaders.

     

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  355.  
    identicon
    Kim19Ue, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re

    The term papers performing can’t constantly be a fun. The case study writing would utilize a lot of time. I would recommend to buy paper. I do think that this could be the easiest way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  356.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2010 @ 2:43am

    Re:

    If your signal is penetrating through my walls at home, then how would that be a problem. If its an issue, put a password on the router. but it shouldnt be illegal and I dont see how it is. If you throw something of yours threw my house continuesly and I used it. Its not my problem nor is it illegal. For one you put it in my home, on my property, and in my posession and for two you are sharing your network with anyone with access to it.Hint...you are sharing access. that means thats not theft to you or the service provider.Why are you sharing, because you are placing your signal in my home. I never went to your home and took your signal and brought it back. Maybe its wrong in some sort of immoral way, but honestly to fix the problem, instead of charging an arm and a leg per month, they should take a very small portion out of each individual for taxes and make it free for everyone, because pretty much everyone uses the internet.Oh and by the way, your signal is trespassing on my property.

     

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  357.  
    identicon
    Gooobster, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    I agree with Anymous Coward, if there's no password on the router then it isn't theft. How would someone know your taping into someone else wireless network from the street to begin with unless your stupid enought to tell them that. Most laptops come with wireless networking anyway and can pick up a signal anywhere in the city. Saying that recieving a wifi signal from an unprotected or unsecured router is theft, Is like saying your stealing when your browsing the web at the airport.. Sounds like someone just loved to hear themselves talk.. I have never heard of anyone getting arrested for it.. They're just scare tactics..

     

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  358.  
    identicon
    Chris, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 11:38am

    Going in someones house requires you going onto their property. If their property goes outside of their property line. It's no longer their property.

    To adress the coments here about some people just don't know how to secure their network:
    1. I'm sure the owners manual walks you through that.
    2. If I didn't see the speed limit sign and I get a ticket, does that mean my neglectful driving gets me off the hook. Nope. Because stupidity is no excuse.
    If someone allows their wifi to drift outside their property line, then is their property trespassing, or is it not their property?

     

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  359.  
    identicon
    Snoglydox, May 22nd, 2011 @ 1:13am

    Business or Home -- should be the question

    I believe most businesses have a knowledgeable person that was able to set up the router the correct way, so if it is open, it is likely implied for others to use it. The problem comes from home router setup; the majority of routers purchased by home users are pretty much plug and play, and I believe most home users would not like outsiders using their access, but are ignorant of the setup. I had a similar issue with a couple of my neighbors access showing up in my house; one neighbor was completely clueless, and the other had a friend set up her router, but she was unaware that, after an issue that caused her to reset her router, she set the router to the manufacture settings. I informed them, and showed them how to secure their network.

     

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  360.  
    identicon
    Joshua Archuleta, Jul 17th, 2011 @ 4:46pm

    This is balogne

    So using a company's unsecured, unencrypted wireless network is illegal. It shouldn't be. It should be the consent of the company because they let their WiFi be unencrypted.

    This is setting up for a crime to happen. It's ridicules

     

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  361.  
    identicon
    Send out flyers or go to McDonalds, Oct 2nd, 2011 @ 6:20pm

    I guess you have to be a police to do this. I see them in their cars all the time on Wifi.

     

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  362.  
    identicon
    JIm, Mar 9th, 2012 @ 3:12am

    Re:

    Using the same pretext, the cops should arrest people watching TV programs from outside a TV retail store, because the passer bys would be stealing the store's paid Satellite TV service.
    Or worst, cops should start arresting everyone watching a Baseball game from outside the stadium, like Wrigley Field for example, because that game is property of the MLB and they would be stealing the service MLB is charging for it to everyone inside.
    It's a lame world, isn't it.


    Payday Loans

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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