Is It Still Theft Of Service If It's Using The Free WiFi At The Library?
from the someone-please-explain dept
In the past, we’ve made it pretty clear why we have a hard time believing that there’s anything wrong with using an open WiFi network — even as there are an increasing number of stories of people getting arrested and fined for doing so — usually with the claim that it’s “theft of services.” However, it’s difficult to see how it can possibly be considered theft of services when it’s done from a place that’s giving away the WiFi for free. The latest case, sent in by John, involves a 21-year-old who had his laptop confiscated after he was caught using a library’s free WiFi from his car. The police officer quoted in the case, makes it sound like it’s a no brainer that using the WiFi in a library from your car is clearly illegal — but there’s no explanation for why (or why it’s then okay to confiscate the guy’s laptop to “inspect what he may have been downloading.”) Also, if it’s so suspicious for someone to be using a laptop in their car, what happens when more people get access to wireless broadband and sit in their cars using their laptops via a completely legitimate EVDO or HSDPA connection? Will the police come and confiscate those laptops as well?