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Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Here Comes The Bigger Debate On The Legality Of Open WiFi Usage

from the this-ought-to-be-pointless dept

Earlier this week, we pointed to the story of a man in Florida being charged as a felon for simply using an open WiFi network. That was based on a locally published news story in Florida, but that story went big yesterday when the Associated Press wrote up an account of it leading to a much bigger discussion (and a few people submitting it here, even though we'd written about it earlier in the week). Most of the new coverage has just rewritten the original story, but News.com has a more detailed question and answer discussing all the legal questions associated with accessing open WiFi, and concluding, basically, that it's an open question. Of course, some people have been having this discussion for years. In the end, the real question is what is being "lost" here. In most cases, absolutely nothing -- which is why it's hard to consider using an open WiFi access point as "theft." In fact, some (though, not many) ISPs consider it a good idea and downright neighborly. The actual laws on the matter are way too vague -- but looking at the reality of the situation should lead people to recognize that this is not theft at all.

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  1. identicon
    Steve Marching, 11 Jun 2006 @ 9:38am

    stealing internet

    There ar two "little problems" I have not seen exposed in the comments from all wizards here, I'd like to see them commented to gain the knowledge.

    It is known that every computer using your internet slows it down... if you work through your internet connection and pay for high speed because you need it.... doesn't an unauthorized user affect your work-business-income?

    and..... to use your internet, this user had gained access to your network..... with little knowledge it can go into your computer, folders, archives, everything that is accessible on the network..... it is safe for us to leave the connections open? Of course not... but much people lacks the know how to secure their connection. Please comment.

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