Austin Police Planned... Then Postponed Wardriving Plans In An Attempt To Shutdown Open WiFi

from the um,-but-it's-legal dept

Jonathan Rumion alerted us to a plan by the Austin, Texas police department to conduct a massive war drive around the city, looking for open WiFi networks, with the plan to try to find the owners, and tell them to lock up their WiFi networks. We've heard of similar campaigns in the past. Rumion was reasonably concerned about this effort -- and whether it was because of him asking questions, or other reasons, it looks like the Austin police have postponed this effort for the time being.

Either way, it raises lots of questions. Having an open WiFi network is not against the law, so should the police really be going around telling people to lock up their WiFi? It's also not at all clear how they're figuring out who actually owns the open WiFi networks. Rumion was also concerned about what the police might do with the data they collect, though I don't think that should be an issue -- that data is public. Still, it does seem like a questionable effort against something that remains perfectly legal.

Filed Under: austin, open wifi, wifi, wireless


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  1. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 26 Sep 2011 @ 11:40am

    Re: "Firefighters tell homeowners how to keep houses safe from fires"

    "...even if I didn't despise all those too lazy to connect wires."

    How about those of us who don't have permission to rewire our apartments? How about those of us with laptops who want to -- gasp -- carry them around with us? (I know -- the idea of using a portable device in a portable manner does tend to cramp the brain.) How about those of us who have guests who want to connect their laptops to the Internet while sitting on the couch or whatever handy chair we sit them in? Blue wires stretched across the floor and sticking out of the cushions are so chic this season!

    "Lazy" is just a way of saying "I don't have your priorities and I can't be bothered to understand them, so I'll just judge you harshly to feel better about myself."

    "Holy cow, it's narcissistic wallowing in your own supposed wit, And to me seems to drive the reach for excess ornamental fluorishes."

    Pot, kettle.

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