We've been tracking the crackdown on those nefarious WiFi freeloaders over in Singapore, where checking your email via an unsecured hotspot can now net you a three year prison term and $6,500 fine. The first person busted was a seventeen-year-old kid, the once murky details of his arrest now made clear with his conviction and sentencing. Apparently the teen tried to grab a WiFi signal from his front yard after his mom confiscated his modem. A neighbor saw the kid chatting, concluded he was up to no good, and turned him in to the police. While the young criminal mastermind avoided jail, he faces an eighteen-month probation -- part of which will be spent in a boys' home. Based on a social worker's assessment, the Judge also seems to think it would also be a good idea if he receives therapy for his video game addiction. He's also banned from accessing the Internet during those eighteen months, a generally ineffective punishment that makes working difficult -- since most jobs utilize some kind of Internet access. The Internet is just too tightly woven into our lives (VoIP connections, interactive IPTV, 3G phones) to make Internet bans reasonably enforceable. Of course, it's not clear how this WiFi freeloading issue is going to be handled in Singapore going forward -- since the government is planning to offer its own 512kbps WiFi for everyone to freeload on anyway.
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