SWAT Team Raids Home Because Guy Had An Open Wireless Router

from the wrong-lessons-learned dept

This is just ridiculous. Apparently a SWAT team raided the home of an innocent guy, accusing him of downloading child porn:
Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didnít need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

That new wireless router. He'd gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.

"We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night," the man's lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, "Doldrum."

"No, I didn't," he insisted. "Somebody else could have but I didn't do anything like that."

"You're a creep ... just admit it," they said.
It seems that law enforcement folks now admit that they screwed up, but the "lesson" they're getting out of it seems completely backwards. They're saying the lesson is that you should protect your WiFi router. That may be a good idea for some people, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons for offering an open WiFi connection. Furthermore, as noted, some people don't know how to set up their WiFi security.

But the bigger questions are:
  1. Why is law enforcement sending in a SWAT team for child porn downloads? You could potentially see it in cases of production, but with downloads, can't they just do a standard arrest?
  2. Why didn't they do a simple check beforehand to see if the router was open before bursting into the home with assault weapons and unproven assertions?
  3. How come none of the "cautionary lessons" involve law enforcement folks realizing that they overreacted?
What's really disturbing is that the thrust of the original article is all about how this is a cautionary tale for wireless router owners, rather than a cautionary tale about overaggressive law enforcement.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    SWAT team (that's redundant =/ ) are used for situations where the suspect is known to be armed and dangerous.

    In this situation, could you even ask if he was suspected to be armed and dangerous?

    Probably what really happened. ICE finds a cache of child porn on a P2P share with an endpoint of this mans location. They start putting together a warrant and they think "Man this is going to make the news, I need to tell my buddy in SWAT". Guy in SWAT sets up a raid instead of a calm visit by 2 men in grey suits because he has a daughter and despite innocent until proven guilty wants to kick this guys nuts in. SWAT team goes in after being pumped up by their commander about how filthy a child diddler the man they are going to bust is. SWAT team treats him as reported "roughing" up the suspect a bit (read: Legalized Police Brutality).

    Cautionary lesson to learn in all this: If the original warrant doesn't state you are using SWAT and the situation doesn't change to situation where SWAT is needed (Snipers, Guerrilla style warfare, Riot, Hostage Situation) don't bring in SWAT.

    Also IP address does not identify individuals, it identifies a device, in this case one that broadcasts out to a location the size of a football field.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    less then half a day

    The guy gets woken up for supposedly downloading files at 11:30pm the night before. Yet they take months to plan a hit on those who produce that crap with even more evidence then just a BS IP address.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    It will be a cautionary take for law enforcement when the guy sues them and wins.

    There is something fishy about how this story is presented. I wonder if all the details are real.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: less then half a day

    If they stop the people who produce child pornography and disseminate it online then how will they ever locate the pedophiles?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Like you, I don't see why the no-knock warrant and SWAT was needed for a downloader. It makes sense to search the place as it is most likely that person who owns the router downloaded the material. It is 100% logical that he'd get a visit from the police.

    However, downloading is a non-violent offense. Why was SWAT needed at all? There was no evidence of immediate need to enter the home (the computer wasn't going anywhere), nor any lives in immediate danger, nor any reasonable expectation of a violent confrontation.

     

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    Phillip (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    why isn't this a cautionary tale of an ip != person?

    Shouldn't this be a tale for law enforcement that perhaps an ip address does not equal a person?

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Another slightly depressing thought.

    What if this guy had a WEP key? We all know that WEP is easy to crack, just Google it to find out. Would these cops accept that the guy was innocent if he did password protect his router? Or would they say it must have been him since his router was "secure"?

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    No excuses citizen/terrorist

    Mike, why do you continue to defend this kind of scum? I mean, if you download anything you must be a terrorist. That is why they bring in the SWAT. And think of the children...but not for too long or the doors of that black van outside just might slide open!
    /sarcasm - for those to whom it isn't obvious

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Re: So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    Special Weapons And Tactics team.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Another slightly depressing thought.

    Cross-posting my comment from Slashdot:

    I saw this story first on Yahoo! News and, surprisingly, the comments seemed to understand [that this is a case of law enforcement gone crazy]. The highly-rated comments all said this is insane, that it's not the guy's fault for not securing his wireless network, it's the police being crazy. I was somewhat proud of my fellow countrymen for seeing through the attempted spin.

    The horrible thing, to me, is that they're trying to use it to push securing your home internet. Breaking home wireless encryption isn't that hard, and it would have made it far more difficult for him to prove his own innocence. It's a bit of a double-edged sword.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    SWAT

    > 1.Why is law enforcement sending in a SWAT
    > team for child porn downloads? You could
    > potentially see it in cases of production,
    > but with downloads, can't they just do a
    > standard arrest?

    This is something that's been bothering me for a while now--this trend towards the overuse of SWAT/tactical team to make arrests when they're not only not needed but can actually escalate the situation and make it worse.

    There are some departments where it's now policy for SWAT to make *every* pre-planned arrest. Unless you're a patrol officer who makes an impromptu side-of-the-road DUI or dope bust, you're required to use SWAT to make initial contact with the arrestee.

    It's absolutely ridiculous, but that's the trend these days.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Another slightly depressing thought.

    Well, they'd almost certainly search/arrest you (which is probablyl justified). But if they don't find any evidence on your computer, I'd hope they wouldn't charge you (and you'd have pretty good evidence for the defense if they did).

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    ah, I stand corrected, not redundant.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    I read somewhere that law enforcement officers cannot be sued for things like this, you would have to sue the city instead. Is that correct?

    Situations like this should NOT happen, and when they do happen, it should cost the LEO's millions. Maybe then they will do some actual police work and treat "suspects" in a dignified manner.

     

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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    The Digital Dark Ages:

    We are still in them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    So basically the idea I'm getting from the RIAA, MPAA and now SWAT is that I should be teaching my 5 & 2 year olds NOT to share. I've gotten the message loud and clear. Next time I see either of my kids being nice to each other and attempting to share something I'll slam them on the ground, call them some names, confiscate whatever they are playing with at the time and lock them in the dog kennel for punishment. That should teach them.

    P.S. If either of them ever sings "Happy Birthday" then I'll have to raid their college fund in order to pay the license fee.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Headline a bit misleading

    Apparently, the raid was NOT because of an open router, but because a child porn download was taking place there. The apparent reason the download was able to take place there was because the router was open.

    It's like saying a farm got raided for not having a fence when the cops show up to address a pot crop in some out-of-view back corner of the property.

    I think it really is a good argument for making sure your router is locked down, especially since, as has been advocated by Mr. Masnick previously, having an open router is seen by some as essentially an invitation for others to use it. So, I'm not sure what the problem is with the concept that use of your router to commit a crime will result in the cops knocking on your door to ask you some questions about it. You would logically have some 'splainin' to do.

    That being said, having the SWAT guys break down the door and manhandle the suspect really does seem on odd choice of tactics for this sort of thing. As others have said, I suspect we don't know quite all the relevant facts here.

    HM

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another slightly depressing thought.

    Evidence is irrelevant in the "New American Justice System."

    They just send you to Guantanamo Bay with a note pinned to your chest that says "enemy combatant."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Your pot analogy makes no sense, unless the pot was being grown by some other person ... then maybe.

    So, I'm not sure what the problem is with the concept that use of your router to commit a crime will result in the cops knocking on your door to ask you some questions about it.

    They didn't knock ON his door, they knocked DOWN his door and then pointed a gun in his face while screaming at him about being a pedophile. Can you not see how these things are different and one is clearly inappropriate?

     

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    Danny, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    It wasn't that serious...

    Given how serious SWAT units are shouldn't someone have done some recon to see if it was actually necessary to call them in? This wasn't a drug lab, kidnapping ring, or a bank robbery. It was one guy in his own home.

    As for other people thinking there are other facts and details. I'm open to being show otherwise but I'll bet money the SWAT theatrics were for show. They thought they would get some publicity out of the bust so they wanted it to look all dramatic like an episode of Cops, but instead came out more like Reno 911. Now that this guy's been splashed all around his area as a child porn collector I hope he sues the holy hell out of that police department.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    $20 says some regional asshat - mayor, police chief, D.A., etc... - staged the event so they can grandstand on protecting the children for next years elections.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    But...But...

    Raporism!

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Re:

    Not likely. The police will say they followed appropriate police procedures, and that will be that.

    Police can raid the wrong house and end up shooting an innocent guy in the head, and the worst they'll get is paid leave while internal investigations is busy determining how to get them their next medal for heroism.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Re: But...But...

    Yea, its bad when the cops rape you.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    Re:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_on_hi_te/us_wi_fi_warning

    Supposedly aggregated from - By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press Ė Sun Apr 24, 3:35 pm ET

     

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    DMNTD, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    So damned if you, do damned if you don't..

    Its becoming like this it seems. I don't believe retaliation is going to be the winner of such little wars. I mean at what point does information actually make you a winner?

    I just imagine this swat(power struggle) situation getting worse and when it comes to guns being pointed pacify and litigate or retaliate?

    Oh, Where is the brain that is supposed to be located in these humans covered in black boots and such?

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: But...But...

    Recidivism!

    FTFY

     

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    A Dan (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: The Digital Dark Ages:

    They're just beginning. You ain't seen nothing yet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    At leat nobody was...*puts on sunglasses*... ICEd

    People are forgetting that this is practically the same agency that pointed submachine guns at a 6-year-old. Nobody cares unless someone gets shot, which thankfully did not happen in this case. They used too much force but they'll never really be checked on it.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Yes, the pot analogy was supposed to include the fact that the farm's owner didn't know the back corner had been co-oped. And the fact it doesn't work is exactly teh point. Lack of a security system is not the reason for the raid. It was what happened in the absence of said security system.

    As for breaking down the door and pointing guns and so forth, that's exactly what the last part of my post addressed. I agree it seems very weird. Not that downloading child porn is OK, but not sure how that (by itself) justifies a full frontal assault like that.

    My point is that the lesson to be learned by people setting up their home networks is VERY valid, and should not be discounted, as it was here. If you set it up so that someone can do bad things in a way that looks like it might be you, you have to expect to be questioned when those bad things happen. The fact that the police resposne here seems over-the-top is an independent (and irrelevant) issue.

    HM

     

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    slander (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Why indeed...

    Why is law enforcement sending in a SWAT team for child porn downloads? You could potentially see it in cases of production, but with downloads, can't they just do a standard arrest?


    Because it's low-hanging fruit. Using these type of tactics against the (suspected) undesirable elements in society (chesters, dope dealers, lawyers, etc.), followed-up by public chest-beating and media sensationalism, makes it justified in the public's eyes.

    Once such things become generally accepted/approved, then they apply it to progressively less-heinous offenses, until it becomes SOP.

    If you want to boil frogs, the best practice is to heat the water slowly...

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Why indeed...

    If you want oppression its best to turn the faucet to drip. Gives you time to build the bigger bucket.

     

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    Ben, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    YES, you can sue them, it does not get reported but these cases are usually settled for large sums/gag orders!

    I would gladly forgo the cash for a written assurance that the morons responsible were terminated and barred from further law enforcement employment!

    Once stripped of their protective blue armor, sue them individually, and hope they do the right thing and commit suicide.

    Uniformed thugs and sociopathic murderers, they do far more harm than good!

     

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    art guerrilla, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: less then half a day

    um, you do realize that the feds, etc have THE biggest and most comprehensive collection of ALL porn -including child porn- in the world...
    (okay, maybe the vatican is close...)
    uh, strictly, uh, for, um, law enforcement, uh, purposes...
    they have to -you know- look at all that porn -numerous times a day- to 'protect and serve' us li'l peeps...
    it is true that 'our' (sic) gummint is the single largest consumer of porn...
    ...all to keep us delicate sheeple 'safe' !
    the sacrifices donut-eaters make for us !!!
    hee hee hee
    ho ho ho
    ha ha ha
    ak ak ak

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy

    eof

     

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    xs (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    Re: less then half a day

    The people who produce the stuff would have lawyers and money and well thought out plans to cover their ass. So they have to really be careful and get their ducks in the row before going in. For ordinary people like us, they think they probably could have scared us to confess right then and there with a full SWAT team bearing down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    not local swat

    It wasnt the local swat team, it was our friends from ICE
    so not only does this beg the question why do you need machine guns to arrest a pedophile, but wtf does this have to do with customs and immigration.

    The answer is probably, it would have looked nice on the news if we hadnt fucked it up


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_on_hi_te/us_wi_fi_warning:
    "It was 6:20 a.m. March 7 when he and his wife were awakened by the sound of someone breaking down their rear door. He threw a robe on and walked to the top of the stairs, looking down to see seven armed people with jackets bearing the initials I-C-E, which he didn't immediately know stood for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    "They are screaming at him, 'Get down! Get down on the ground!' He's saying, 'Who are you? Who are you?'" Covert said.

    "One of the agents runs up and basically throws him down the stairs, and he's got the cuts and bruises to show for it," said Covert, who said the homeowner plans no lawsuit. When he was allowed to get up, agents escorted him and watched as he used the bathroom and dressed. "

    oddly no mention of swat teams in the actual perpetrators arrest:
    http://www.wkbw.com/news/crime/Man-Charged-With-Distribution-Of-Child-Pornographer-11817439 9.html

     

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    That Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Headline a bit misleading

    No the porn was being downloaded next door. His router was just an access point being used by an evildoer. The person they actually arrested turned out to be a college student who had access the same material they were tracking via the college network and there it had an id that could be traced to him. Had they invested more time in investigating rather than sending out the SWAT team, they could have discovered that beforehand.

    In checking out the location to see if it was dangerous or not, it does not seem that much of a stretch to suggest that maybe seeing if the WiFi was open and available at the location would be unreasonable to think of.

    Given that most routers can be comprised by people of not great technical skill, and the law enforcement overreaction to everything they can get headlines for I see it being worse if you bother to use the security because then you HAVE to be guilty.

    Security =! Completely Secure.
    IP =! Person.

    But we have special rules for people accused of kiddy porn in this country, guilty and marked for life on mere accusation even if found innocent.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Re: At leat nobody was...*puts on sunglasses*... ICEd

    YEA... no. can't do it. not in a thread where submachine guns get pointed at 6-yr olds.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Except that it's not like finding pot growing on someone's property. It's more like witnessing a drug dealer known to be carrying pot enter a house and then raiding that house after he leaves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Two Conspiracy Theories

    The homeowner doesn't exist at all and ICE wrote the AP article themselves. In ICE's ideal world everyone has a secure wifi router and they can raid with SWAT teams with impunity. And if you decide you don't want to secure it you will be raided, citizen!

    Now it also doesn't make sense that the homeowner wouldn't be trying to sue. Any lawyer would be foaming at the mouth over this sort of thing. If this really happened maybe they're hanging an aiding and abetting charge over his head.

     

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    Mr. Bad Example (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re: So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    What? Offices of the law over-react? Naw!
    Actually, it probably had something to do with childhood trauma on their part...

     

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    BigKeithO (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    It isn't illegal to have an unsecured wifi network. This was overkill plain and simple.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Yes, it seems to have been overkill, but the only one claiming the reason for the raid was the open router (as opposed to the illegal activity they were actually responding to - albeit in what appears to be a way over-the-top manner) is Mr. Masnic.

    HM

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Why didn't they do a simple check beforehand to see if the router was open before bursting into the home with assault weapons and unproven assertions?


    They don't need to prove their assertions to obtain a search warrant. They just need to show that there's probable cause, which they would still have even if they did know the router was open.

    The result of what you seem to be advocating would be that someone could make themselves basically immune to arrest and search of their computer (and hence ultimately to prosecution) for any computer crime simply by making their wireless network open: the police would never be able to "prove" it was them rather than a neighbor before searching their computer and never be able to search their computer without "proving" this.

    (To be clear, using a SWAT team for something like this is surely a rather silly abuse of police resources, and probably a result of someone wanting to appear "tough" on child pornography. I'm also a little skeptical of the arrest warrant.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    One of his neighbors undoubtedly noticed a SWAT team breaking in.
    Perhaps, if this neighbor hadn't noticed a SWAT team, his computer would've still been connected to the open Wi-Fi network, and checking the router's logs might've helped pinpoint the neighbor in question.
    However, by now that neighbor has been busy reformatting his hard drive(s). No evidence left. Too bad.

    Anyway, good thing I know how to set up encryption on my router. (Remember kids, use AES, not TKIP.)

     

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    herbert, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    so, if this story is true, who instigated the involvment of the SWAT team? i don't believe they were there under their own steam. SOME organisation must have thrown the dollars around to get this done. hope he gets a whole lot of cash for what happened and those responsible are named and shamed!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    What's really disturbing is that the thrust of the original article is all about how this is a cautionary tale for wireless router owners, rather than a cautionary tale about overaggressive law enforcement.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/buffalo/article369032.ece

    http://www. buffalonews.com/city/communities/west-side/article369806.ece

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/capi tal-connection/albany/article401580.ece

    The guy says he won't sue, man I would sue, I would sue hard, I would get Kuntsler, and sue them to hell.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: SWAT

    I think using SWAT actually erodes confidence and respect for the police. It's easy to view it as overkill and strong-arming, especially in poorer or high minority population neighborhoods.

    You're still pissed if they search your house for something you didn't do, but a less confrontational interaction is much better for the police in the long term.

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didnít need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

    "You're a creep ... just admit it," they said.

    If only there were kind of a law about not extracting confessions while pointing guns at someone and without presence of an attourney... :-\

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    "Why is law enforcement sending in a SWAT team for child porn downloads? You could potentially see it in cases of production, but with downloads, can't they just do a standard arrest? "

    Because, law enforcement these days needs to send out the entire police force just to get a cat out of a tree. Then you wonder why we never seem to have enough cops.

     

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    David Liu (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Incorrect:

    The title past the link: "Guy Gets SWAT Team-ed for Not Securing His Wireless Connection"

    The original article: "NY case underscores Wi-Fi privacy dangers"

    Mike also isn't claiming that the sole reason for the raid is just because he had an open router. He knows that the reason for the raid is because of child porn and states as such in the second sentence. He knows it and assumes his readers are smart enough to not take headlines so literally and possibly read the article.

    I guess he's giving the commenters on the lower end of the curve a little too much credit here.

     

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  52.  
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    Doug Wagner (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    Bigger picture craziness

    Of course this particular case is insane, but the thing I find amazing is that we have come to except putting people in jail for downloading PICTURES! As a father, and grandfather I loathe the idea of hurting children, and sexual assault is especially sickening. But having a sickness that makes you take pleasure at the sight of kiddie porn is not the same as the act of abusing children. Some sick f**k who spanks his monkey looking at crime scene photos is not the same as the guy who pulled the trigger. A maggot who enjoys concentration camp footage is not the same as a Hermann Goring. I'm all for killing the people making the porn...though prison time for a child rapist is often more of an eye for an eye type punishment as they get to see what it's like to have a more powerful person do things to that you don't like, but people looking at the pictures are just sad and pathetic...not criminals in my book.

     

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    jonvaljon, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    This is the norm

    No knock warrents are the norm these days. Youtube "no-knock warrent" and see some crazy videos. I especially love the one where SWAT busts in and shoots the guys dog in front of his children. So endearing. Such defenders of freedom and justice.

    For reals, some quick math on how much it costs to execute a no-knock dynamic entry quickly reaches into the thousands of dollars for this operation. Money aside, these units are not trained to community police, they are trained to enter with overwhelming force and neutralize armes suspects. Not Mr. Rodgers next door who wanted to share his interwebs.

    For reals, I hope this guy didnt have a dog, because standard procedure on dynamic entries is to "neutralize" all canines that cross your path. Better yet, I hope he didnt have kids, cause his children will be wetting the bed for months after having a paramilitary force breach their house with bright lights, shouting, and physical force, all while probably waking up from a nice nights sleep.

    Sickens me. But you know, he was asking for it. After all, if he didnt want the SWAT to go all ape on him, he should have locked his wifi.

     

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    Re:

    "The result of what you seem to be advocating would be that someone could make themselves basically immune to arrest and search of their computer (and hence ultimately to prosecution) for any computer crime simply by making their wireless network open: the police would never be able to "prove" it was them rather than a neighbor before searching their computer and never be able to search their computer without "proving" this."

    This makes no sense at all.

     

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    Re:

    Heh - yeah, wouldn't that be something

     

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    aldestrawk (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:51pm

    "For two hours that March morning in Buffalo, agents tapped away at the homeowner's desktop computer, eventually taking it with them, along with his and his wife's iPads and iPhones."

    Maybe this is just a bad description but if that is what they did the computer forensics was done improperly. You might insert a write blocker and do a bit of scouting of existing connections for a computer that was running at the time of the bust. Generally, I turn off my computer before I go to bed. If it was off, they should have just cloned the hard drive without turning the computer on. I cannot see a forensic examiner looking around for 2 hours even if the computer was on before copying the hard drive.

     

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    Re: This is the norm

    "Sickens me. But you know, he was asking for it. After all, if he didnt want the SWAT to go all ape on him, he should have locked his wifi."


    You live and you learn I suppose.

    What's next - No knock blow up your house ?
    It's your own fault. Those predator drones would not have been necessary had you locked your wifi.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 4:55pm

    Re: So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    "In this situation, could you even ask if he was suspected to be armed and dangerous?"

    From the article:

    "child porn in the first place. Are people who download kiddie porn known to be heavily armed?"

    Well maybe just one arm...

    Thank you thank you, I'll be here all week, try the veal!

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    On one hand, you're correct that the headline is a bit misleading. But you're also over simplifying. The raid wasn't just the result of the open network. But it also wasn't just the result of an illegal download.

    It was also caused by law enforcement's failure to properly investigate. If you're not aware that unsecured (or as good as unsecured) wireless networks are common place, you don't know enough to be conducting this sort of investigation. Failing to look into such a possibility before making accusations this serious is irresponsible regardless of whether a SWAT team is involved or not. It's networking 101.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Not "lower end of the curve." Just those that haven't drunk the Kool-Aid.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Absolutely. The cops could have taken some additional steps to try to confirm the download was happening in that particular house/apartment/whatever, rather than next door. Whether they SHOULD have, though, I'm not quite as sure. If all they had done was get a search warrant and knock on the door (which seems like the more appropriate tactic here, rather than the shock-and-awe approach), I suspect few would have cried foul. It's the over-the-top behavior of the cops that is triggering the extra scrutiny here.

    I view the two issues as distinct. However, the post clearly discounts the security lesson to be learned in order to focus on the argument that criticizes the cops. Sure, the cops seem to bear some need for criticism here, but that doesn't minimize the homeowner's situation AT ALL. If you set up an open router, you just might have to deal with a knock at the door when someone with a badge needs to find someone using your open router. In this particular case, it just so happens the cops knocked so hard the door fell down.

    HM

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re:

    For the reading impaired, here's some elaboration on what Mike seems to be suggesting should be (or is?) the law:

    - If you download child porn to your computer on your own home internet connection with closed wireless, then (after checking that your wifi is closed) the police get and execute a warrant to search your computer.

    - If you download child porn to your computer on your own home internet connection with open wireless, the police check and discover that your wifi is open and then can't get a warrant to search your computer because any of the neighbors (or random people off the street) could have done it.

    The result would be that you could protect yourself (to some extent) from investigation for child pornography simply by keeping your wireless open, whereas common sense suggests that this ought not to be the case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    SWAT members are just thugs with badges

    They're little boys who like to play dress-up and pretend to be macho, but in reality they're among the stupidest of all law enforcement. So it's hardly surprising that they leapt at the chance to terrorize (and I believe that word is applicable here) an innocent person.

     

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    Jesse (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    I'm really glad you made the point (about the tone of the article). When I read it earlier today, it was really disturbing. Thanks for the insight.

     

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    BW (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    The over-the-top response IS the relevant point. The stupidity of their covering response is the independent and LESS relevant issue.

     

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    Togashi (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

    Re:

    Even further than that, the article another commenter linked to (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_on_hi_te/us_wi_fi_warning) said the guys were wearing ICE jackets. What does Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have to do with child porn?

     

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    Togashi (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    You're being overly literal here. Yes, the cause of the raid was the illegal activity, but the cause of the illegal activity was his open router. If he had not had an open router, he would most likely not have been raided.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    His open router didn't "cause" anything, but you gotta expect that if someone takes your car for a joyride when you leave the keys in it will result in YOU getting a knock on your door when it's discovered the car was used in some illegal act before it was returned to you.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    The over-the-top response is really not relevant at all. The cops got the wrong house. Whether they got the wrong house by knocking on the door, or by knocking the door down, is not really relevant. Either way, they picked the house based on the router being used, and that is potentially a risk one assumes when using an open router. Someone might see your router being used for a particular activity, and, fairly reasonably, deduce that you are the one using it.

    If you're just interested in stories of cops being too gung-ho, then there are plenty of stories that have nothing at all to do with tech issues - and, actually, this is one of them.

    Again, it seems the cops did go into ths with way too much adrenalin (assuming there are no other facts which would explain their tactics here), and they should have acknowledged that. However, the lesson for Mr. Open Router is no less valid for the fact that the cops went Rambo on him.

    If a particular router is being used to conduct illegal activity, it's only logical to first look to the place where the router is located - not next door.

    HM

     

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    NotMyRealName (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:10pm

    What if the guy had been a crazy survivalist or fully prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse? I know a guy that has traps in his house (like don't step on the second stair, it's just balsa wood and there are shivs underneath kinda stuff) There would likely have been a whole lot of damage to the cops, culminating in the death of the homeowner, and for what?

    Also, I can't see a homeowner getting very far in his speech about how the Bill of Rights explicitly grants him the right to bear arms, and when taken in combination with the universal human right to property, it led to him shooting two cops in the face.

    The news would call it a tragedy, but that word is so diluted now I hear it used when someone forgets to (-)tomatoes on their burger at mcdonalds. Nothing would change, the whole thing would be forgotten in 2 weeks by everyone except the families of the involved.

    Because some politician wanted to put on a show? And I don't mean political party politician, above a certain level in -every- organization of more than 10 people everyone is a politician or they wouldn't be there.

    -I can't think of how to end this in a concise and thought provoking way, soooo, uh...

     

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    non sequitur

    Your conclusion is not based upon any factual evidence, it relies upon supposition and innuendo. Logic fail.

     

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    abc gum, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    "What if the guy had been a crazy survivalist or ... "

    What if the guy was an alien from outer space or some kind of changeling monster that simply looked human .... then what - huh?

    That's it man, game over man, game over!

    Nuke the open wifi from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    The reason law enforcement never learns is simple: the SCOTUS has given them carte blanche to ignore the Constitution and do whatever they feel like.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Don't know if they should? Would you accept the same level of "proof" as acceptable for non-computer crimes. I'll go back to my earlier example. If someone known to be carrying illegal drugs is seen entering your house, should that be grounds for a search warrant? Because that's basically the standard we're talking about. A modem is nothing more than an entry point to your house. It's the front door for data. And just like the presence of a drug dealer in your house won't get you arrested for buying drugs, the presence of data traveling through your modem shouldn't be grounds for accusing you of downloading kiddie porn.

    As to securing routers, as Mike already pointed out, there are legitimate reasons for leaving them unsecured. There is no requirement not to, nor is there a legal doctrine which makes you responsible for the activities of people who use your unsecured connection.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    If this keeps up, they'll eventually encounter someone who is "prepared". Not looking for anyone to get hurt, but they should consider the risk with doing these raids all willy-nilly.

     

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    Rekrul, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Bigger picture craziness

    Of course this particular case is insane, but the thing I find amazing is that we have come to except putting people in jail for downloading PICTURES!

    Be careful! There's no tolerance for rational thought where child porn is concerned...

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:20am

    Re: Re:

    They have to stop migrant children from 'participating in the propagation of illegal documents.'

    Yes, that IS sarcasm.

     

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    velox (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:31am

    Re: SWAT

    The reason there is so much SWAT proliferation is: let's face it -- that shit looks cool.

    ... too many police are[should be] grown-ups who get to use other people's [tax]money to play adolescent soldier games.

     

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    velox (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:36am

    Re:

    --agreed

     

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    abc gum, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 5:02am

    Re:

    "If this keeps up, they'll eventually encounter someone who is "prepared". Not looking for anyone to get hurt, but they should consider the risk with doing these raids all willy-nilly."

    I did not see anyone suggest a willy-nilly approach, did you?
    I did see suggestions about reconnaissance prior to contact with the suspect. One would think this is standard operating procedure, apparently it is not,

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 5:57am

    Other day I couldn't connect to my trusted MAC, password and radius secured WRT54G... I was in a hurry, so I decided I'll figure out what's going on later. Meanwhile I've noticed an unsecured DD-WRT router with a great signal strength. "Sucker" I thought. Got connected, did whatever I needed and left. When I got back home in the evening, my router was still nowhere to be found, but DD-WRT was there alright. Trying to figure out what's going on, I logged on to the router from wired line and... "Oh No! The sucker is me!" Somehow, the router was reset to defaults and stayed wide open! As I live in apartment, surprise-surprise, I had about half a dozen foreign connections on it, and judging from the crazy blinking lights of network activity, all my 1.2 mbps down were solidly used to suck something other than checking e-mails. I shut it down at once and was wondering how far have I advanced to the top of the black list...

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    If I was the guy I would put a router in front of the officer and say configure it now or STFU!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    Re: At leat nobody was...*puts on sunglasses*... ICEd

    Remember Waco?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    Good point. They shouldn't be using no-knock entry unless absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you're just asking for someone to get shot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    "Except that it's not like finding pot growing on someone's property. It's more like witnessing a drug dealer known to be carrying pot enter a house and then raiding that house after he leaves."

    It's more like witnessing a drug dealer known to be carrying pot cross an unfenced front lawn and then raiding the house.

     

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    Disgusted, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re: Bingo!

    That there is the main reason we are deep in the shit as a society. We have allowed government at ALL levels to ignore the Constitution - which is supposed to be the "highest law in the land".

    Blame 9-11, blame the war on everything, blame over-zealous politicians bottom feeding for votes. All of it has corroded our way of life like nothing else ever has.

    This country is toast as a freedom-loving tribe. It's all over but the shouting.

    It will be interesting to see what other vile surprises they have in store for us in the coming days.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    If you set up an open router, you just might have to deal with a knock at the door when someone with a badge needs to find someone using your open router. In this particular case, it just so happens the cops knocked so hard the door fell down.

    The question isn't whether that COULD happen, but whether it SHOULD happen. In some places you COULD be pulled over and harassed just for being black, a.k.a. "driving while black", but SHOULD you be? Would you suggest that black people shouldn't drive and if they do then it's their own fault if they get harassed because they knew the danger?

    In this particular case, it just so happens the cops knocked so hard the door fell down.

    That response makes me think that the answer to my previous question is yes, you would.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    you gotta expect that if someone takes your car for a joyride when you leave the keys in it will result in YOU getting a knock on your door when it's discovered the car was used in some illegal act before it was returned to you.

    A "knock on your door" if far different from what was described in the article and you know it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Whether they got the wrong house by knocking on the door, or by knocking the door down, is not really relevant.

    No, how the cops reacted is the whole point.

     

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    anymouse (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    Re: SWAT

    I'm sure this has nothing to do with the budget issues or overzealous government intervention in our daily lives. It's the government 'bailout' for the SWAT teams, make the use of SWAT required on all pre-planned arrests, and suddenly there is a reason to justify the funding for the continuation of the SWAT programs.

    I'm not implying that SWAT isn't useful for it's intended purpose, but if it costs $5000 (being conservative) to 'arrest' a suspected child porn downloader, compared to $500 to send a couple patrolmen in a black and white, is this really their purpose?

    From the government perspective, perhaps the real purpose of SWAT is to inflate the cost of apprehending the "bad-guys" so that they can justify the excessive spending that's going on... but.... but.... but... it costs $5000 to arrest one individual (because we made it a requirement), we need more money or all those other nasty child porn downloaders will get away while we aren't looking.

    /sarcasm off, now where did I leave that aluminum beanie?

     

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    Matthew (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    conflict

    I view it as my ethical (not legal) responsibility to secure my wireless, but i would also consider it to be a good deed to provide free internet access to my neighbors who can't afford their own. Unfortunately, the risk of doing so just seems too high.

    Anyone have tips for administering an open wireless connection while still being a responsible network operator and minimizing the chances of finding myself in this guy's situation?

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: conflict

    I view it as my ethical (not legal) responsibility to secure my wireless, but i would also consider it to be a good deed to provide free internet access to my neighbors who can't afford their own. Unfortunately, the risk of doing so just seems too high.

    Congratulations, you have fallen prey to their plan of scaring people out of sharing anything.

     

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    TDR, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    We'd be so much better off, I think, if there were more officers in the police force like Mahoney, Jones, Hightower, Callahan, Tackleberry, Hooks, Zed, Sweetchuck, and Lassard. Sad that often it seems that fictional cops like these are more decent people than real cops.

     

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    anymouse (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    I think everyone is missing the fact that THIS example is exactly what will be used to push forward the laws to make individuals responsible for everything that happens over their router regardless of security, hacking, key-loggers, back doors installed at the government's request, etc. It won't matter, if they can show that it came thru your modem, they will hold you responsible for it.

    Corporations (the same ones pushing the passing of the new laws) will be exempt from the new laws that will be included as a small sub-clause in the next, "think of the children, punish the pedophiles" type bill that nobody will want to stand up and say no to (what, you're not for saving the children?), at least those big enough to lease their own congress critters. So while the government would have no problem with the mom and pop coffee shop getting shut down for users activity on their free-wifi, they wouldn't want McDonalds being held responsible for users doing bad things on their free wi-fi.

    Some of this stuff is just so crazy it seems insane.... then it actually happens one day and people go WTF when did that become a law and why didn't someone stop it.

    Much like a stopped clock being right twice a day, a conspiracy theorist only has to be right once and suddenly they aren't such a nut job after all... Then the men in black show up, throw them in a military prison, keep them awake and almost naked in solitary confinement for 23 hours out of the day, put him on 'suicide watch' and tell everyone that he's just a little unstable and the harsh treatment is for his own protection, and suddenly everyone goes, "Oh, well he did some things we don't agree with (whistle-blowing...), so maybe he really is just a little out there and deserves to be treated that way."

    Now for a modified Neimoller quote:

    First they came for the Whistle Blowers, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Whistle Blower...
    Then they came for the Open Wi-Fi Advocates, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not an Open Wi-Fi Advocate...
    Then they came for the Accused Child Porn Downloaders, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not an Accused Child Porn Downloader.
    Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

    It's easier to accept the evil we know (our governments public issues) than the evil we know must be going on behind the scenes. /sarcasm off

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    If CP was legal, as it should be, this kind of crap wouldn't happen.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    Did you mom ever teach you about shoulda coulda wouldas?

    The question isn't where it could happen, but whether it needs to happen. Then you have an obvious axiom reply and not one based in the hypothetical and theory.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re: conflict

    Feeling manipulated yet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    Smoked pork for dinner

    Let's get our assault rifles ready and have some smoked pork for dinner. Scumbags.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:43am

    Re: So how heavily armed was the suspect?

    SWAT team is not redundant

    SWAT: Special Weapons and Tactics (not Team)

    So it is Special Weapons and Tactics Team

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    Bakeca Roma, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 3:45am

    Re: why isn't this a cautionary tale of an ip != person?

    That's why you should always set a password for your wireless router if you have one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 4:34am

    pay ur taxes, work as a good dog for you boss

    and make children who'll live in such a world

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: why isn't this a cautionary tale of an ip != person?

    Except anyone with a little know-how or YouTube videos can crack the security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: why isn't this a cautionary tale of an ip != person?

    Except anyone with a little know-how or YouTube videos can crack the security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    The rest I agree with, but Tackleberry? He lives for this kind of action.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    icon
    Hugh Mann (profile), Apr 30th, 2011 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Headline a bit misleading

    So, let me get this straight, you are equating racism and/or racial profiling with the fairly technically straightforward task of identifying the location of a router being used for a particular online activity?

    Are you really, seriously, suggesting that knocking on the door of the house where a router has been identified (not just because it's open, but because you can see it being used) is equivalent to a racist police officer pulling someone over for driving-while-black?

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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