Is Hopping On An Open Access Point Stealing Bandwidth?

Maybe it's just the circle of friends I hang out with, but most of us have no qualms about using a random open WiFi access point (though, realizing we have no clue who else may be listening in on any unencrypted traffic). So, it was a bit surprising to see someone struggling with the issue of whether or not this practice is theft. Many folks leave open their access points on purpose for the reason of sharing it with whoever might be around. Of course, eventually what will happen is that you'll be able to more clearly designate the "rights" of users on your network. You'll be able to set up "guest" areas that may have certain restrictions, and none of this will be as big an issue any more. In the meantime, I know plenty of people who, upon moving into new apartments/houses and waiting for their own broadband installation to take place have been pleasantly surprised by the ability to jump onto a neighbor's existing network to get by.


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