When In Singapore Make Sure To Turn Off WiFi Network Autodiscovery

from the otherwise,-jailtime-it-is dept

For many years, we've put up posts questioning whether or not using unsecured WiFi was a crime or if it even should be a crime. It appears that officials in Singapore decided that it absolutely is a crime and John writes in to point out that a teenager now faces three years in jail for using his neighbor's WiFi. There aren't too many details here, and perhaps there's more to this story. However, from the summary, it sounds like this kid used his neighbor's open WiFi network. There's nothing saying that he got past any security or anything like that -- just that he had "unauthorized access." As many of you probably know, most computers these days have WiFi network auto-discovery, meaning that if you're walking around with an ordinary laptop in Singapore, you could accidentally open yourself up to the potential of 3 years in jail just by waking it up in the wrong spot. The other oddity here is that the article claims the complaint was filed by the neighbor, though it's unclear how he knew that his WiFi was being used by the teen, or how anyone can prove that it actually was the teen. Perhaps there really is more to the story, and perhaps the neighbor did properly lock up his WiFi -- but if it really was open, wouldn't locking it up be a more reasonable response than tossing your teenaged neighbor in jail for three years?

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  1. identicon
    zeroJJ, 14 Nov 2006 @ 12:08pm

    Unfortunately those disliking these flawed analogies are correct. Similar to intellectual property rights concepts, it's difficult to accurately equate tangible property with intangible property. They just aren't the same and cannot be dealt with in the same manners.

    To assail #9 a with a bit more predjudice:
    Rolling with your car analogy, it would be more accurately described if your neighbor parked his car on YOUR property (say in your driveway) not only with it unlocked, but the keys in the ignition and the engine running.

    It's just not the same to look at it like an invasive action such as trespassing. The fact of the matter is that in trespassing you are entering in anothers property. The wireless signal is being broadcast into other's airspace. Depending on how you look at things, this could be construed as an invasion of your airspace.
    It reminds me of the early days of satellite. If somebody is beaming a signal into your home that you did not pay for, authorize, or otherwise ask to have beamed into your home, are you still responsible for paying for it?

    Unfortunately, all of that idea is negated by our laws designed to unevenly favor the mediacorps and provide little or no consumer rights.

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