India Looks To Make Open WiFi Illegal

from the overreact-much? dept

In most of the discussions we've had over the years concerning the legalities of open WiFi networks, the issue was whether or not it was legal to access an open WiFi network. Over in India, they're taking a different approach, apparently preparing rules that would outlaw offering an open WiFi network (via Slashdot). This is in response to the recent bombings in India, where officials believe the bombers used open WiFi networks to email each other. That seems like a pretty big overreaction. If it's not open WiFi, the terrorists will come up with other ways to communicate -- and in the meantime you inconvenience everyone else, and make it impossible for those who want to offer open WiFi to do so.


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  •  
    identicon
    Potato Head, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 2:12pm

    Who Will They Call?

    Well, who are they going to call for help enabling WEP?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    ranon, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    It's not that the terrorists were using WiFi to email each other, but that they were sending bomb threats using an open wifi network. In such a case it became impossible to track the sender of the mail.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      Sorry, logically explanations have been banned on techdirt's blog.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      mobiGeek, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 5:03am

      Re:

      Email each other, email/chat bomb threats to others...regardless it is communication.

      But, as pointed out, if not WiFi then some other means of communication will be used.

      Why not ban the telephone? Why not ban the Internet altogether? Why not ban plain brown envelopes?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Johnny Canada, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 3:06pm

    Then they will ban

    Payphones

    Pay as you go Cells

    Even the Post office must close

     

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    identicon
    Vinod, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 3:44pm

    They are scared

    Well - they are scared. They won't end up doing it, but I think they might take other actions to monitor all forms of communications (as we do in the US). India has already started requiring an ID in order to get a prepaid phone. You must have either a national ID, or a passport that is kept on file. Blocking wi-fi would be impossible to enforce.

     

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    identicon
    Ashwin, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 4:15pm

    No go

    This is the problem with India! With a chunk of the populace illiterate and a chunk of the politicians handling portfolios they never understand properly, the laws that come out are pretty absurd. The way to solving terrorism is not by curbing the lifeblood of its new economy, but by increasing and training its law enforcement agency. India's clash with terrorism goes way back before 9/11. Yet, the number of leads and successful case records are almost zero. Bomb blasts are de riguer. The police make a lot of smoke and fire by arresting suspects and then bank on the same thing each time: the public memory is short.
    Indians are resilient and extremely shrewd. They find a way around problems, especially technical problems. You are talking about a country whose street vendors software-hacked open the iPhone even before it was made available legally in the country without any jailbreaking software. The computer tech support guy will fix your Vonage router even though it is not technically sold in the country. And you would think that after the WiFi ban (if it can be implemented), people won't find a way around it?
    As usual, the public will forget this also without holding the politician's feet to the fire about terrorism preventive measures.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous indian, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 4:42pm

      Re: No go

      I think you missed the point. One of the main reasons they want to ban open Wifi is because with the recent terrorist activity and the threats, it is almost impossible to track the senders.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 5:21pm

        Re: Re: No go

        Anonymous indian -> "I think you missed the point. One of the main reasons they want to ban open Wifi is because with the recent terrorist activity and the threats, it is almost impossible to track the senders."

        and if you tracked everything then IP and MAC spoofing would no longer work and in addition, cracking weak passwords would be made ineffective.

        Wow, what a good solution !

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Mark, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    ban everything

    then they should ban cars since they used cars for the bombs !

     

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    identicon
    another mike, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    my city made wardriving illegal. and connecting to someone's home wi-fi. the cable cabal had enough sway to get their TOS passed as law. they did it in exchange for promising to finally roll out a proper high speed internet and not do it as half-arsed as they'd done in the past. on the television side, the city won the argument and the cableco had to promise to offer better channels and HD or the city wouldn't renew their monopoly.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Erik, Sep 22nd, 2008 @ 2:49pm

    Officials "believe" an open Wifi signal was used but they have no way to know if their hunch is correct? Wow, that's, um, shockingly stupid of them. I get their intention but the implementation is overly draconian and utterly stupid.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Indian, Sep 24th, 2008 @ 2:36am

    Meh. Who the hell gives a damn pig's arse what they ban? As Ashwin said, morons implement laws re. things they have no mental capacity to understand. Other morons will make some sort of half-arsed attempt to implement said law. One week later, and everyone's back to their merry old ways, including the people, the cops, the politicians and the terrorists. Sigh...

     

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